Activision CEO Bobby Kotick takes a significant pay cut amid the publisher's ongoing lawsuits – PC Gamer

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By Natalie Clayton published
“I have asked the Board to reduce my pay to the lowest amount California law will allow for people earning a salary.”
In the midst of the company’s ongoing lawsuits (opens in new tab) with multiple government agencies, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has decided that taking home his usual excessive pay wouldn’t be a great look. Today, the executive announced he’ll be asking the board to cut his salary to the lowest amount legally allowed under California law.
Writing in a press release (opens in new tab) this morning (spotted by Kotaku’s Ethan Gach (opens in new tab)), Kotick provided an update on what the company has done since his last underwhelming response (opens in new tab) to the harassment lawsuits.
Notably, in order to give the company “every available resource” to fix the company’s cultural issues, Kotick announced a significant cut to his pay— and while he’s taken salary cuts before (opens in new tab), it seems this one pointedly includes his notoriously lofty bonuses (opens in new tab), which have previously approached almost $200 million in value.
“I have asked our Board of Directors to reduce my total compensation until the Board has determined that we have achieved the transformational gender-related goals and other commitments described above,” Kotick writes. “Specifically, I have asked the Board to reduce my pay to the lowest amount California law will allow for people earning a salary, which this year is $62,500. To be clear, this is a reduction in my overall compensation, not just my salary. I am asking not to receive any bonuses or be granted any equity during this time.”
The letter does go a few steps towards meeting worker demands (opens in new tab) after the initial lawsuit. Activision is waiving mandatory arbitration on sexual harassment and discrimination claims, and will immediately fire anyone who retaliates against an employee for making a compliance complaint. The publisher is pushing to increase the percentage of workers who identify as women or non-binary by 50%, in part by investing $250 million into game and tech diversity initiatives. It also plans to improve pay transparency, and provide annual updates on gender hiring, diversity hiring, and workplace progress.
“I truly wish not a single employee had had an experience at work that resulted in hurt, humiliation, or worse – and to those who were affected, I sincerely apologize. You have my commitment that we will do everything possible to honor our values and create the workplace every member of this team deserves.”
Kotick’s statement doesn’t touch on his own role overseeing a Activision’s “frat boy” culture. But it is somewhat of a step above the publisher’s immediate response which was often as confusing as it was dismissive (opens in new tab). Blizzard president J. Allen Brack (opens in new tab) and HR head Jesse Meschuk (opens in new tab) resigned in the wake of the allegations, and the studio recently renamed an Overwatch character (opens in new tab) named after a developer included in the allegations.
20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she’s not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it’s the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.
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