We can safely claim the following: the Bobby Kotick-led publisher has US state investigations coming its way, as investment and finance heads from California, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Oregon ask for a meeting to discuss Activision Blizzard’s response to its many scandals.
Axios reports that the elected officials requested in a joint letter they sent in November, claiming that they would vote AGAINST the re-election of the incumbent Activision Blizzard board members. They aren’t alone. SOC Investment Group, which doesn’t have a large portion of shares, called for Kotick to resign and longtime board members Brian Kelly and Robert Morgado to be replaced by diverse candidates.
Illinois has some confirmed investment in Activision Blizzard, but we don’t know how much stock the six states own. However, they are responsible for overseeing their states’ pension funds and other investments, collectively managing roughly 1 trillion dollars. “We’re concerned that the current CEO and board directors don’t have the skillset, nor the conviction into these sweeping changes needed to transform their culture, to restore trust with employees and shareholders and their partners,” Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs said, adding that the letter was meant to put public pressure on the company while protecting the states’ investments.
Jessica Gonzales, a senior test analyst at Blizzard and organizer of the Activision Blizzard walkout, decided to leave the company to focus on her wellbeing. She played a significant role in the A Better ABK employee coalition as a critic of the company’s work culture. She announced her departure on Twitter. We’ll quote her message:
“Unfortunately, this is a goodbye message. It’s been a journey over the years, and I have decided to leave Blizzard by putting my wellbeing first. I’ve accepted an opportunity that is too good to pass up. I’ll still be moving into a senior quality engineering role for a financial tech company and out of Game Development entirely.
I regret that I couldn’t meet my colleagues under better circumstances, but I take our shared vision for diversity, equity, inclusion, and workers’ rights with me and value the work that we’ve done during my time here. For those of you thankful for my voice, I encourage you to find yours and use it. There are good people in the industry, and I believe ABK can be a great place to be with enough education and awareness. There’s lots of work to do still, and I am mentally wounded from this fight. It’s been a long and exhausting road for a change, but it isn’t over.
Don’t forget what so many passionate developers worked hard towards and continue to work towards in my absence. Let your passion and the passion of those around you drive the spark that ignites meaningful change. I believe in the good people in this company and can’t wait to see where you all can take it.
To Bobby Kotick: your inaction and refusal to take accountability is driving out great talent, and the products will suffer until you are removed from your position as CEO. It may seem harsh, but you had years to fix the culture and look at where the company currently stands. My last day is December 10th. Every voice matters,” she wrote.
And the story is not over yet.