Johanna Faries reportedly set to lead both CDL & OWL as Head of Leagues

Theo Salaun

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Following a resignation by the Overwatch League’s commissioner, Peter Vlastelica, Activision Blizzard have apparently named the Call of Duty League’s commissioner, Johanna Faries, as a new “Head of Leagues,” overseeing both esports.

In 2019, the Overwatch League’s first commissioner, Nate Nanzer, resigned in order to head up Fortnite’s burgeoning esports scene as Epic Games’ Head of Competitive (before moving on to become their Head of Global Partnerships). In 2020, the OWL’s second commissioner, Vlastelica, resigned just before the league’s Grand Finals.

Now, instead of announcing a third commissioner for Overwatch esports, Activision Blizzard are reportedly set to make the Call of Duty League’s commissioner, Faries, the head of both esports leagues under a new title: Head of Leagues. This comes after she headed up a very successful, albeit tumultuous, inaugural CDL season.

call of duty league home series
The boisterous crowd at one of the Call of Duty League’s Home Series events.

As reported by The Esports Observer’s Kevin Hitt, league sources expect Faries to be announced as Head of Leagues on October 12. The role will have her oversee team and broadcast operations while also serving as administrator for both of Activision Blizzard’s esports.

In another shuffling of responsibilities, current Chief Commercial Officer Brandon Snow is also expected to take on more management of the leagues’ marketing and analytics. All of this news comes during the CDL offseason and amidst the OWL’s 2020 Playoffs. 

In a statement about Vlastelica’s resignation, the overruling company confirmed that the former CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports and OWL commissioner “will transition from his role in ABE to focus on new entrepreneurial ventures on behalf of Activision Blizzard, following the Overwatch League Grand Finals. He was fundamental in building the company’s esports business and driving the industry forward, and we thank Pete for his contributions and impact on our business over the last four years.” 

overwatch league 2020 event crowd
One of the many avid crowds at Overwatch League events.

As for Faries’ experience leading into the role, the new joint commissioner is a former Harvard University graduate who spent 11 years with the NFL, finishing as the Vice President of Club Business Development after five-plus years as the VP of Marketing Strategy and Fan Development. 

Subsequently, she joined Activision Blizzard as the Call of Duty Esports commissioner, a role in which she drew tremendous praise from owners, most notable from Hector ‘H3CZ’ Rodriguez, and players alike in an impressive inaugural season for the CDL. Now, she brings a wealth of experience to both leagues ahead of pivotal 2021 seasons.

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