Gaming giant Activision Blizzard’s workplace misconduct is back in the headlines.
This time because CEO Bobby Kotick told senior managers that he would step down if he failed to quickly fix Activision Blizzard’s culture problems, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). This happened during internal meetings with the company’s subunits Blizzard Entertainment and Activision Publishing on Friday.
In saying this, Kotick came short of actually resigning, as employees and shareholders are now demanding.
These demands come on the back of an employee walkout in response to the WSJ’s report last week that Kotick knew about the culture issues at the gaming giant, and actually intervened to stop HR firing one senior executive.
Communications Workers of America Union affiliated campaign the CODE-CWA group tweeted:
It's been an intense past couple of days. Here’s a recap of what happened this week:
– WSJ story exposes Bobby Kotick
– Hundreds of workers join @ABetterABK's 2nd Walkout
– Shareholders call for Bobby's removal
– Workers release demand letter
– Companies vow to cut ties with ABK
— CODE-CWA (@CODE_CWA) November 19, 2021
In fact, to date, 1,786 employees have signed a petition calling for Kotick’s removal. This is over 15% of all Activision Blizzard employees.
The petition also asks “that Bobby Kotick remove himself as CEO of Activision Blizzard, and that shareholders be allowed to select the new CEO without the input of Bobby, who we are aware owns a substantial portion of the voting rights of the shareholders.”
So far, Activision Blizzard’s board has stood behind Kotick.
In a statement, they wrote: “Under Bobby Kotick’s leadership the Company is already implementing industry-leading changes including a zero-tolerance harassment policy, a dedication to achieving significant increases to the percentages of women and non-binary people in our workforce and significant internal and external investments to accelerate opportunities for diverse talent.
“The Board remains confident that Bobby Kotick appropriately addressed workplace issues brought to his attention.”
UNLEASH has reached out to Activision Blizzard for further comment.
Activision Blizzard’s culture problems first hit the headlines in July this year when the state of California announced it was suing the company because of its workplace misconduct and ‘frat boy culture’.
It also has committed to fixing its culture, but it is clear that its commitments have not gone far enough to satisfy employees.
Will the removal of Kotick, if it happens, really help transform the gaming giant into an inclusive employer?