French publishing giant Ubisoft had to face questions from investors over the allegations of abuse by its staff.
In the company's earnings call for the quarter ending June 30th, 2020, CEO Yves Guillemot (pictured) was asked by Ken Rumph of Jeffries – as reported by GamesIndustry.biz – about how the apparent toxic working culture at Ubisoft came to be and what his awareness of it was.
"I wanted to ask a question of Yves as a founder and CEO of the company," Rumph asked Guillemot.
"Regarding what's happened recently, there are kind of three options. Either as CEO, you didn't know this was happening, which is not great. Or you perhaps didn't know enough and should have asked more, maybe that's the answer. Or you knew, which of course would not be good. Now those are my possibilities. You may answer the question differently. But I'd like to ask what would be your answer to the question about your responsibility as CEO."
In his response, Guillemot somewhat dodged the question, saying that some of his colleagues "betrayed the trust I placed in them" by behaving the way they did and that when Ubisoft has been made aware of bad behaviour, it has tried to affect positive change. That somewhat goes against what former HR employees have said about the company. One told Bloomberg recently that Ubisoft management distrusted staff complaining of harassment, while former chief talent and comms officer Cécile Cornet reportedly has said that: "Yves [Guillemot, CEO] is okay with toxic management, as long as the results of these managers exceed their toxicity level."
"Each time we've been made aware of misconduct, we made tough decisions, and made sure that those decisions had a clear and positive impact," Guillemot said in response to Rumph's question.
"It has now become clear that certain individuals betrayed the trust I placed in them, and didn't adhere to Ubisoft's shared values. So I have never compromised on my core values and ethics, and I never will."
During the call, Guillemot said that employees would have to complete "comprehensive and mandatory training" on the subject of harassment, with Ubisoft also drawing up a new Code of Conduct. Manager bonuses will also be tied to their ability to create a positive environment.