gaming

Activision Blizzard boss reportedly discussed possible exit


Bobby Kotick, boss of Activision Blizzard, has said he would consider standing down if the company’s issues cannot be fixed “with speed”.

Kotick stopped short of confirming he would quit in a meeting with fellow executives last Friday, Wall St Journal (paywall) reported. But, clearly, it was a topic of conversation.

Last week’s bombshell report into Activision Blizzard detailed numerous claims of sexual assault, harassment and misconduct. Much of the report also centred on what exactly Kotick knew, and how he acted in response to many of the numerous allegations.

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Kotick reportedly held meetings last week with management at both Activision and Blizzard, and was told some employees would not be satisfied until he stepped down.

More than 1700 staff subsequently called for Kotick to go, while a small group of Activision Blizzard shareholders, PlayStation and Xbox all piled on pressure.

But in a company-wide meeting, staff were told Activision Blizzard’s recently-announced “zero-tolerance” policy to harassment did not apply to Kotick himself, despite a claim that he threatened to kill an employee via a voicemail. Incidents involving Kotick happened over a decade ago, employees were told, and there was no longer any evidence to investigate.

It remains unclear how exactly Activision Blizzard will solve the company’s issues “with speed” or otherwise, or what timescale might lead to Kotick handing his resignation.

The latest WSJ report includes comment from an Activision spokesperson who said the company had made significant changes to create a safer workplace environment.

There are, reportedly, also plans for a “workplace excellence committee” to oversee future progress.

But how, when and if Kotick eventually goes has not been detailed.

As previously highlighted by Axios’ Stephen Totilo, Kotick stands to make a substantial amount of money if he ever did leave Activision Blizzard – but how much depends on the nature of his exit. Potentially, Kotick could earn a $292m payout for his departure.

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Activision stock has fallen 14 percent since last week’s original WSJ article was published, and 30 percent down since late July when investigations into the company’s culture were made public.





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