Following a damning new report claiming Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick neglected to inform the company's board of directors about alleged abuse for years, a group of shareholders have called for him to resign. They say the company need a new CEO "with the expertise, skill set and conviction to truly change the company's culture".
The Wall Street Journal report (which requires a free sign-up) claims that not only was Kotick aware of some previous allegations, but has intervened in the past to stop an alleged harasser from being fired, and allegedly threatened to have an employee killed.
Now, The Washington Post report that a group of shareholders, led by the Strategic Organizing Center (SOC) Investment Group, are calling for Kotick to resign, and for the two longest-standing board directors Brian Kelly and Robert Morgado to retire by the end of the year. If they don't, the shareholders reportedly say they won't vote to reelect the current board directors at the next shareholder meeting in June.
After the WSJ's allegations were made public, ActiBlizz's board of directors released a statement saying the board "remains confident in Bobby Kotick's leadership, commitment and ability to achieve".
"After the new revelations, it’s clear that the current leadership repeatedly failed to uphold a safe workplace - a basic function of their job," SOC executive director Dieter Waizenegger told The Washington Post. "Activision Blizzard needs a new CEO, board chair and lead independent director with the expertise, skill set and conviction to truly change the company's culture. We need to really have a reset button on the board."
Under Bobby Kotick's leadership the company has been accused of mistreatment, sexual harassment, rape, and a death threat made by Kotick himself. The board is just as complicit if they let this slide. It's past time for Bobby to step down. #EndAbuseInGaming #ABetterABK pic.twitter.com/4RYepNdDUc— ABetterABK 💙 ABK Workers Alliance (@ABetterABK) November 16, 2021
It's good to see folks at the top holding the company's leadership to account, and it seems shareholders aren't the only ones. In an email to staff seen by Bloomberg (watch out for the paywall), PlayStation boss Jim Ryan criticised Activision Blizzard shortly after the WSJ published their piece. They claim Ryan reached out to Activision to express concern, and ask how they'll be addressing the WSJ's claims. "We do not believe [Activision Blizzard's] statements of response properly address the situation," he reportedly wrote.
Many Activision Blizzard workers have had enough of this mess too, and held their second walkout in four months on Wednesday, demanding that Bobby Kotick be removed.