Thursday, September 21, 2023

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick May Keep His Board Seat

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Bobby Kotick will retain his seat on Activision Blizzard’s board of directors, despite flak over the alleged role he played in creating the company’s toxic workplace culture. At the video game developers’ annual shareholders’ meeting, investors voted on several proposals, as well as who will sit on the company’s board of directors for the coming year. In total, 533,703,580 shareholders voted to keep Kotick on the board, while 62,597,199 voted against. As GameInformer notes, that means he may keep his seat until the next meeting in 2023.

Activision Blizzard employees quit their jobs last year, then called for Kotick’s resignation The Wall Street Journal reported that the CEO was aware of the worst cases of abuse in the company and even protected the employees accused of harassment. As you recall, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued the publisher in July 2021 for allegedly promoting a “frat boy” culture. The California bureau investigated the company over the course of two years and found that women who worked for Activision Blizzard were paid less than their male counterparts and subjected to constant sexual harassment.

More recently, the New York City Employees’ Retirement System sued Kotick, calling him unfit to negotiate the company’s pending sale to Microsoft because of his “personal responsibility and liability for Activision’s broken workplace.” NYC’s Retirement System represents the city’s police, teachers, and firefighters and owns Activision Blizzard stock. The company appointed a new Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer in April to help the company create a more inclusive workplace. In response, a group of workers seeking to protect workers from discrimination formed a committee to prepare a list of demands for Kotick and the new Chief Diversity Officer.

While the majority of shareholders elected to keep Kotick on the board, they also approved a plan to release a public annual report detailing how Activision is handling disputes over sexual harassment and gender discrimination. The report should also indicate how the company prevents these incidents and what it is doing to reduce the time it takes to resolve them.

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