The CtW Investment Group, whose aim is to keep “directors accountable for reckless and immoral corporate conduct,” has criticized the estimated $200 million USD bonus that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick is expected to receive as part of a “Shareholder Value Development Reward” clause in his employment agreement after the company revealed it was laying off 190 employees.
80 of those employees come from their eSports division. CtW Investment Group released a statement that repeated much of what it said last year when it chastised Activision Blizzard CEO Andrew Wilson for raising more than $30 million in 2019.
Bobby Kotick Villain or Just a Savvy Business Person
“While the rise in Activision’s stock price is commendable, as we reported last year and continue to claim, this achievement alone does not warrant such a large pay outcome for the CEO,” said Michael Varner, director of executive compensation analysis. “There are several factors that may contribute to an increase in the stock price of this company that isn’t directly linked to Robert Kotick’s leadership. For example, the use of video games as one of the few viable entertainment alternatives during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a boon to many gaming companies, regardless of executive ( Bobby Kotick ) talent or strategic decisions.”
Petitti, who is the President of Sports & Entertainment at Activision Blizzard, did not share details regarding which positions will be impacted in an interview with SBJ this morning. He did say, however, that the division, which oversees the Overwatch League and the Call of Duty League, is preparing for a future in which its business will be less reliant on live events. The company stated that it kept the vast majority of its employees in 2020, but that it now needs to make changes. Activision says those who are losing their jobs today will be notified and will receive appropriate severance packages.
With regards to Bobby Kotick, according to Bloomberg, the overall number of layoffs today “affects less than 2% of the total workforce, or less than 190 employees,” with additional job losses announced at Candy Crush developers King, which is also owned by Activision.