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Riot Games taps former Uber executive in efforts to address internal diversity

Frances Frei joins the Diversity & Inclusion and Culture Strike Team

Francis Frei
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

Riot Games is bringing on a former Uber executive and Harvard Business School professor to advise its internal diversity efforts, just a few weeks after the League of Legends developer was the subject of a Kotaku investigation that alleged rampant sexual discrimination.

Riot made its first announcement Wednesday regarding additions to the internal diversity and inclusion team, announcing Frances Frei, who last served as Uber’s senior vice president of leadership, will serve as a senior advisor within Riot. Frei has already been meeting with the company’s CEO, president, and co-founders.

Frei has a notable history as both an academic and an advocate for inclusion with organizations like the Harvard Business School and Uber. Her hiring is a direct follow-up to some of the promises made in Riot’s statement, including:

Expanding the Culture, Diversity, and Inclusion (D&I) Initiative: We’ve built a new team to lead our cultural evolution. This group and their work will impact every corner of this organization, and will also accelerate our existing cultural and inclusion work. We are all committed to keeping the best parts of today’s Riot—like our focus on player empathy—while tirelessly looking toward the future. The team will be accountable to our CEO, Nicolo Laurent, directly.

Third-Party Evaluation: We have engaged two leading consultants on culture change to provide us with their expertise and recommendations as we rebuild Riot’s culture. Our goal isn’t just to be good; it’s to become a leader on diversity, inclusion, and culture. We’re asking them to develop mechanisms to measure our progress and hold us accountable against this objective.

Riot also promised other changes were coming, including plans to recruit a new Chief Human Resources Officer and a Chief Diversity Officer in the coming weeks or months. Riot Games have also brought in an outside law firm to assess its policies. At press time, Riot communications were unable to confirm the name of the law firm identity or the other culture change consultant, but a representative wrote: “The law firm is a large, international Am Law 100 firm. The practice areas relevant to this work are very highly ranked as being among the best in the country for this kind of work. “

Frei has been meeting with Riot for weeks, according to the statement, which have been a tumultuous time for the company. On Aug. 31, Riot Games hosted a PAX West event that was exclusively open to women and non-binary people until 2PM. That kicked off a firestorm on social media, and the aftermath included two Riot employees departing the company.

Correction (Nov. 7): A previous version of this story misspelled the name of Riot Games’ new hire, Frances Frei. We’ve edited the article to fix this.

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