The CEO of Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick, has reportedly told senior managers at the company that unless he can resolve the issues plaguing the company at present “with speed’, then he may resign from his post.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the under-fire CEO, who has been the subject of multiple requests to step down from a variety of groups and individuals, made the comments in private conversations with senior leaders at the company last Friday.
While the Journal’s story stated that Kotick had not explicitly stated that he would definitely step down from his position, his position was that if he could not resolve the issues facing him and the company expediently, then he would likely do so.
Worrying Year For Kotick
It has not been a positive year for the CEO of Activision Blizzard. Back in July surprise news broke that the company faced numerous allegations of sexual harassment, inequality and developing a culture within the company that denigrated women and led to a misogynist and harmful internal culture.
Barely had the fallout from those serious allegations settled when the company was the subject of another lawsuit, this time accusing the company of intimidation, the use of coercive tactics to try and stop staff walk outs and attempting to break unions.
Then following a walkout of staff back in November, Activision Blizzard employees called for Kotick to resign after the Wall Street Journal reported that Kotick had known about the misconduct claims and allegations for many years, but had not reported them to the board of directors.
It now seems that Kotick faces the endgame at Activision Blizzard. Either he can resolve these issues speedily, or he may well have to step down to let someone else step into the breach to do so.
Criticism Of The Wall Street Journal’s Initial Report
Following the Wall Street Journal’s first report into the alleged toxic working conditions at Activision Blizzard, Kotick has responded.
In a public message, he called the initial report “inaccurate and misleading”.
However, the ABK Workers Alliance, various shareholders at Activision Blizzard and over 1,000 Activision Blizzard employees have called for Kotick to resign his position.
Activision Blizzard’s response to the allegations have also drawn criticism from others in the gaming sector with PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan stating that Sony’s managers were “disheartened and frankly stunned to read” that Activision Blizzard had not “done enough to address a deep-seated culture of discrimination and harassment.”
Similarly, the Xbox CEO Phil Spencer said that Microsoft Xbox were “evaluating all aspects of [its] relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments’ following the latest reports.
Bonus As Staff Were Let Go
It is not the first time that Kotick has been at loggerheads with many at the company. Back in March this year, it was announced that in addition to his annual salary, he would be collecting a performance bonus of $200 million.
That announcement came at a time when Activision Blizzard were making staff cuts in Europe and across the world and was met with widespread anger, especially as it was the fourth round of layoffs of staff within the past six months.
Whether Kotick will go remains to be seen. He has held onto his job despite massive outcry for the past year and seems determined to weather the storm.
Having alienated so many people from the gaming, esports, esports betting and from within his own company, Kotick’s position seems untenable despite him trying to rescue the situation.
However, the clock is ticking and with some of the major players in the industry starting to lose patience with Activision Blizzard and its CEO, a change may have to eventually be made in order to maintain any working professional relationship with these key stakeholders.