Activision Blizzard announces next phase in Bobby Kotick protection plan

Rather than addressing the elephant in the room that is Bobby Kotick’s failure to lead effectively, Activision Blizzard is adding a new door to the room so that you aren’t as drawn to the lumbering presence of its chief executive officer.

That door is the Workplace Responsibility Committee which has been formed by the firm’s board of directors to, “oversee the Company’s progress in successfully implementing its new policies, procedures, and commitments to improve workplace culture and eliminate all forms of harassment and discrimination at the Company”.

The committee will be chaired by Spotify’s chief content officer Dawn Ostroff – who was added to the Activision Blizzard board of directors in 2020 – and Reveta Bowers who has been a member of the Activision Blizzard board since 2018. The firm describes these directors as “independent directors”.

All of this sounds good until the firm announces who will provide updates to the board regarding the work the committee is doing.

“The Chief Executive Officer, Bobby Kotick, along with the Chief People Officer and Chief Compliance Officer will provide frequent progress reports to the Committee, which will regularly brief the full Board. The Committee is empowered to retain outside consultants or advisers, including independent legal counsel, to assist in its work,” the firm wrote.

We find it curious that the board of directors doesn’t see a problem with putting Kotick in charge of reporting back to it about the progress the committee has made. This is because Kotick was just accused of hiding information regarding instances of harassment and in some cases protecting harassers from the board.

Of course, the board says that because there is no evidence of what Kotick is accused of – because it happened over a decade ago – the policies it implements won’t apply to Kotick.

This includes a zero-tolerance policy for harassment in which it was said that any evidence of harassment would lead to immediate termination. It seems as if an alleged out of court settlement that was reached when Kotick threatened to have an assistant killed doesn’t count as harassment then.

The fact of the matter is that the board of directors and upper management at Activision Blizzard have failed employees in a very public and spectacular fashion. As such they should be falling on their swords but instead they continue to try and save face while making empty promises to employees.

We have no faith that this committee will resolve anything at the firm as those that need to be ousted seemingly enjoy a degree of protection from the board of directors.

It’s time for Kotick and his ilk to go and no committee will convince us otherwise.

[Image – steamXO]


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