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Bobby Kotick stepping down as CEO of Activision Blizzard next week

Bobby Kotick will resign after more than 30 years as CEO of Activision Blizzard.

In a formal announcement to employees, the executive said he would be leaving on December 29.

Kotick said, “Perhaps the most important part of my job has been to help bring talented people together, provide the best resources possible, and foster an environment that encourages inspiration, creativity, and unwavering commitment to excellence.

“I cannot adequately express the pride I have in the people who continue to contribute to our success and all those who have helped throughout my 32 years leading this company.”

He added that Activision Blizzard “could not be in better hands,” acknowledging Microsoft’s role following its acquisition of the Call of Duty maker.

As reported by The Verge, in an internal memo sent to staffers, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said, “The leadership teams for Activision Publishing, Blizzard, and King will remain in place, with no changes to the structure of how the studios and business units are run.”

However, there will be a few changes primarily at the Activision Blizzard executive level.

Spencer said that Activision Blizzard vice chairman Thomas Tippl, chief administrative officer Brian Bullatao, chief people officer Julie Hodges, chief legal officer Grant Dixon, and chief financial officer Armin Zerza will stay through March in order to wrap up the company’s transition to Microsoft.

Spencer added that Humam Sakhnini, vice chairman of vice chairman of Blizzard and King, will be exiting from the firm at the end of December. Meanwhile, Lulu Cheng Meservey, executive vice president of corporate affairs and chief communications officer, will leave by the end of January.

Kotick has served as CEO of Activision since 1991 and then became chief executive officer of Activision Blizzard in 2008 following its merger with Vivendi Games.

However the executive’s tenure had its controversies and contentions.

Back in 2014, it was reported that Vivendi considered firing Kotick rather than allowing him to be part of an investor group behind an $8.2 billion deal that saw Activision purchase itself back from the former parent firm.

Game Workers Unite sparked calls for his firing in 2019 after Activision Blizzard announced laying off 800 staffers after having a record year of revenue.

Then, in July 2021, The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard accusing the company of fostering a culture of harassment and discrimination against women.

Later on, in November, The Wall Street Journal published a report that alleged Kotick knew of sexual misconduct at Activision Blizzard for years.

That report also said the CEO threatened to have his assistant killed, and that he overruled a decision to fire Treyarch co-head Dan Bunting, who was accused of sexually harassing an employee.

The day after Microsoft announced its deal to acquire Activision Blizzard in January of 2022, it was reported that Kotick was expected to step down once the deal was finalized, taking with him a $390 million payday from his shares in the company.

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