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Bobby Kotick out at Activision Blizzard

Kotick’s last day is Dec. 29

 Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision, walks to a morning session at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 14, 2023 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Every July, some of the world’s most wealthy and powerful businesspeople from the media, finance, technology and political spheres converge at the Sun Valley Resort for the exclusive weeklong conference. (Getty) Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick is officially resigning from the company after the completion of Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition of the gaming developer and publisher. Kotick’s last day is Dec. 29, when Microsoft studio head Matt Booty will take lead of the Activision Blizzard executive leadership team. Kotick led Activision Blizzard for 32 years.

Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard leadership team remains largely the same, though several executives are also leaving soon, like chief communications officer Lulu Cheng Meservey, who plans to depart in January. Xbox boss Phil Spencer announced the changes in an internal memo, later obtained by The Verge. The leadership shakeup spans departments, but Spencer said the majority of employees will see no different.

“For most of you, your day-to-day work will remain the same — it’s still business as usual in bringing more groundbreaking experiences to more players around the world,” he wrote. “At the leadership level, these changes will provide the clarity and accountability that is necessary to achieve our ambitious goals and foster a culture that is welcoming, empowering, and committed to Gaming for Everyone.”

In October, Microsoft shuffled several executives; that’s when Booty was promoted to president of game content and studios and Sarah Bond was named Xbox president, where she oversees the console and platform business.

Kotick joined Activision in 1991 and has led the company into many key moments, like the Activision and Vivendi Games merger in 2008 that created the Activision Blizzard of today. Later, in 2016, Activision Blizzard acquired King, the mobile game company. But behind those successes, Activision Blizzard employees questioned Kotick’s leadership in 2021 when workers called for his resignation following the company response to the California Civil Rights department’s investigation into sexual harassment and discrimination at the company.

Because of this, Kotick’s future at the company has been of interest to both the public and employees. However, that lawsuit was settled earlier this month for $55 million, most of which will go toward women at the company. With this settlement, CRD has withdrawn its accusations of systemic sexual harassment issues.

Activision Blizzard and Microsoft will pay Kotick a “golden parachute” of at least $15 million, according to financial documents, a number that likely leaves out Kotick’s extensive shares in the company.

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