Activision Investors Demand Kotick’s Firing

Activision investors join forces to demand Kotick be removed.

If there’s one thing you don’t do in business, it’s lie to the investors. Yesterday the Wall Street Journal posted a massive expose on Activision, a company already besieged by lawsuits and investigations over allegations of abuse and management’s part in covering it up. As part of their info dump, we learned that Activision CEO Bobby Kotick himself has paid out sums of cash to quietly shove off accusations of harassment including an incident where he threatened to have an assistant murdered. We also learned that Kotick personally lied to Activision’s board of directors and investors by covering up various investigations, and also intervened to prevent abusers from being fired by human resources.

In the ensuing fallout, Activision employees staged yet another walkout with new demands for Kotick’s resignation. While Activision’s board came to Kotick’s defense quite fast, they have a new problem to contend with. A number of Activision investors representing $329 billion in assets have put forward a public statement demanding that Bobby Kotick be removed from the company as well as Chairman Brian Kelly and Lead Independent Director Robert J. Morgado. The three have until December 31 to announce their retirement.

Beyond justifying Mr. Kotick’s termination, this growing list of investigations and grave allegations raises serious questions of whether Activision Blizzard’s board is acting in the best interest of long-term shareholders. We find it implausible that sexist, discriminatory, and unlawful practices as widespread as those alleged in the California DFHE lawsuit could have occurred without the board’s knowledge if the board had appropriate oversight practices in place. For this reason, we ask for an immediate independent investigation of the board’s oversight policies and practices.

If the investor’s demands are not met, they have promised to refuse the re-election of Activision’s current board of directors, and will be urging other investors to follow suit.

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