In a recent announcement, it was revealed that Activision Blizzard long-standing CEO, Bobby Kotick, will be resigning after over 30 years of employment with the company. Kotick will part ways from Activision on December 29, 2023 and is just the first of many executives also expected to leave by the end of next March.
These changes, mostly happening at the executive level, come as a consequence of Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Changing of staff is not uncommon when one company is bought out by another, but in Activision’s case, the number of higher-level staff members leaving is worth noting.
For example, Activision Blizzard’s Vice Chairman, Chief Legal Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Admin Officer, and Chief People Officer are all expected to leave the company by as early as March next year, as Activision transitions to Microsoft as its new owner.
The Vice Chairman of Blizzard and King is also expected to leave by the end of December, as is the company’s Chief Communications Officer and Vice President of Corporate Affairs, who are expected to exit by the end of January. However, it is Kotick’s departure that will be felt the most, for better or worse.
Kotick has been at Activision for more than 32 years, serving as the company’s CEO since 1991, as well as also becoming CEO of Activision Blizzard, after the company merged with Vivendi Games in 2008.
Kotick has been at the helm of Activision Blizzard for practically all of the company’s major breakout game titles. He has acted as a vital member of the company’s success for the last three decades. However, during this time, he has also been involved in his fair share of controversies and complaints.
He came close to being fired in 2014 instead of being part of the $8.2 billion investor group that sought to buy Activision from partner firm, Vivendi Games. Kotick was also called to be dismissed from his role as CEO in 2018 after Activision Blizzard laid off over 800 employees even though the company had enjoyed a year of record revenue.
In July 2021, a Californian lawsuit was filed against the company under the accusations of nurturing a work environment of discrimination and harassment toward women. Then, in November, there was also a report published by the Wall Street Journal highlighting Kotick’s apparent knowledge of sexual misconduct going on in the company’s workplace for years and doing nothing to stop it.
The report also painted Kotick as a tyrannical leader at times, who had threatened to have his assistant killed. He was also said to be responsible for overruling a decision to fire a high-up executive who had been accused of sexually harassing an employee.
With all that said, these have only been a small stain on an otherwise highly successful career that has seen Activision Blizzard become one of the most respected developers in the industry. Kotick was extremely complimentary of the talent, creativity, and work ethic of his staff, in his recent statement addressing his resignation.
He also expressed confidence in Microsoft’s ability to take Activision Publishing, Blizzard, and King, to even greater heights. Kotick assured his employees that the structure of these studios will remain the same, but it will be interesting to see what happens in the next few years, especially in regards to the Call of Duty franchise.
Kotick was always expected to leave Activision Blizzard once the deal with Microsoft was finalized. Now that time has come. He won’t be leaving empty-handed though, as the former CEO is set to walk away with a $390 million payout from his shares of the company.