The CEO of Activision Blizzard, Robert Kotick, is taking a substantial pay cut as part of the firm's efforts to address its allegedly toxic working culture.
In a note on the company's investor page, the exec said that he would be receiving a wage of $62,500 – the minimum for salaried workers in California – and would not be awarded any bonuses or equity grants until the publishing giant's board has achieved a number of goals and commitments related to its working culture.
In the letter, Kotick laid out five changes to Activision Blizzard's working culture. The first is a zero-tolerance policy for harassment, in which the exec admits that its previous approach "is no longer adequate" and that it needs stricter rules. Furthermore, anyone found to have retaliated after a complaint has been filed will be terminated immediately and many instances of workplace misconduct will result in termination. This will also see an employee forfeit any future compensation.
Secondly, Kotick says that it wants to increase the number of female and non-binary members of staff by 50 per cent within the next five years, with Activision Blizzard investing $250 million to "accelerate opportunities for diverse talent." Currently, 23 per cent of the firm's employees identify as women or non-binary. The company is investing a further $250 million in the next ten years to expand opportunities for communities under-represented within games.
Activision Blizzard also says it is waiving arbitation to resolve claims of sexual harassment and discrimination, as well as increasing visibility on pay equitity.
Finally, Kotick said that the firm will be providing regular progress updates when it comes to diversity, inclusivity and "workplace progress."
Only when the above is achieved will Kotick once again receive awards and equity grants.
In April 2021, Activision Blizzard cut Kotick's salary to $875,000 from $1.75 million. Investment group CtW – now SOC – said that this was still too much and huge bonus awards made any reduction in pay negligible.
All of this comes in the wake of a lawsuit filed against Activision Blizzard by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleging a toxic working culture at the publishing giant. The firm has also faced a lawsuit from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which it appears to have settled for $18 million. That's on top of an investigation into the company by the SEC, which Kotick has been subpoenaed for.