In connection: When companies misbehave, it’s not uncommon for them to get away with it. Unfortunately, this has not yet been the case for Activision Blizzard and its CEO Bobby Kotick. The public image of both parties has been severely damaged recently as journalists and state investigators identified multiple incidents of sexual harassment, assault, and worse within the company. Activision Blizzard’s problems do not end there, however: 6 state treasurers are now demanding answers from the company’s board of directors.
The treasurers in question are from California, Massachusetts, Illinois, Oregon, Delaware, and Nevada. According to Axios, they jointly sent a letter to Activision Blizzard’s board of directors asking for a “discussion” meeting [their] Responding to the challenges and investment risks that Activision is facing. “
In the letter, the treasurers allegedly also said that they would “weigh a call for a vote” against the re-election of the “official directors”. Apparently this relates to a call from a group of Activision Blizzard shareholders last month demanding that Kotick step down.
The full letter to Activision Blizzard was not published in full by Axios, nor was it officially published by the treasurers involved, so we cannot disassemble it for details. By and large, however, the treasurers believe that Activision Blizzard needs to make “major changes”, but the current leadership team may not have the “skills or conviction” to make those changes.
Given that the company’s board of directors has defended Bobby Kotick despite the allegations placed on it, it is perhaps understandable that treasurers should think so. Eventually, if these claims are true, a conflict of interest may arise. If Kotick is involved in the activities that need to be changed, could Kotick be expected to make “major” changes? Maybe, maybe not. The board certainly thinks that way, but we let the official investigators have the final say.
In any case, it’s been a terrible months for the leadership of Activision Blizzard, and it doesn’t look like things are going to improve anytime soon. With a little luck, however, the situation for the company’s employees could improve. Only time can tell.