KEY POINTS

  • Ubisoft Toronto Editorial vice president Maxime Beland has resigned from his post
  • Beland's resignation came after assault and misconduct allegations surfaced over the past week
  • Ubisoft Paris' Tommy Francois was also placed on disciplinary leave over the same allegations 

A top executive over at Ubisoft Toronto has resigned after assault and misconduct allegations were pointed against him in recent weeks.

Ubisoft Toronto creative director and editorial vice president Maxime Beland has stepped down from his position after he and Ubisoft Paris editorial and creative services vice president Tommy Francois were put on the hot seat following the said allegations.

Chief Executive Officer Yves Guillemot said in a message that Francois was placed on disciplinary leave “pending the outcome of an investigation." At the same time, Guillemont added that Beland had resigned.

Ubisoft is one of the world's largest gaming companies Ubisoft is one of the world's largest gaming companies Photo: AFP / Robyn Beck

Another Ubisoft Toronto employee, who was, at the time, unidentified, was also dismissed after showing “behaviors that do not align with what is expected of Ubisoft employees.”

“Ubisoft will not tolerate workplace misconduct and will continue taking disciplinary actions against anyone who engages in harassment, discrimination and other behaviors that infringe our Code of Fair Conduct,” said Ubisoft, through Engadget.

Beland's untoward actions were first tackled by Kotaku Monday (July 6). It said in a detailed report that Beland allegedly choked a female employee at a work party. While some regarded the allegation as a “one-off,” others deemed as a “pattern” where current and former employees who worked for the 20-year Ubisoft veteran claimed that he had made them uncomfortable.

The outlet spoke to 12 former and current employees of Ubisoft Toronto and all of them described the workplace to be toxic, plus the fact that it “undervalues women's contributions, normalizes sexism and harassment and makes excuses for the worst offenders while complaints against them go unheeded.”

Beland's wife, Rima Brek, reportedly sat as the studio's interim head of Human Resources, but the department also had a “reputation for being unhelpful at best,” said Kotaku.

Guillemont's “Change Starts Today” message to Ubisoft employees meanwhile charged head-on with that the company is facing. He said that they will revise the studio's Editorial Department, “transform” HR processes and improve the accountability of all managers.

“We are not looking for a quick fix, but rather a structural shift at Ubisoft that fully aligns with our values – values that do not tolerate toxic behaviors and where everyone feels safe to speak out,” Guillemont said. He also appointed Lidwine Sauer as Head of Workplace Culture, while at the same time started “listening sessions,” launching of a Global Employee Survey and a series of investigations by independent third parties regarding the allegations.