Investment Firm Unhappy With Activision Blizzard CEO’s $200M Bonus Amidst Company Layoffs

Investment Firm Unhappy With Activision Blizzard CEO’s $200M Bonus Amidst Company Layoffs

CtW Investment Group, whose mission is to hold “directors accountable for irresponsible and unethical corporate behavior,” has issued a condemnation of the reported $200M USD bonus that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick is set to receive as part of a “Shareholder Value Creation Incentive” provision in his employment agreement after the company announced it was laying off 50 employees on Tuesday.

“While the increase in Activision’s stock price is somewhat commendable, as we stated last year and continue to assert, this achievement alone does not justify such a substantial pay outcome for the CEO,” Director of Executive Compensation Research Michael Varner said in the statement. “There are many factors that may contribute to a rise in this particular company’s stock price that may not be directly attributable to Robert Kotick’s leadership. The use of video games as one of the few entertainment options available amid the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, has been a boon to many companies in the gaming industry irrespective of executive talent or strategic decisions.”

As reported by Gamespot, Kotick is the beneficiary of a provision inside the “Shareholder Value Creation Incentive” portion included in his employment agreement that allows the CEO to receive the full amount as it relates to an equity payout from past years whether or not certain goals or milestones were achieved. This results in Kotick being on the receiving end of cash rewards going as far back as 2017. 

The $200M bonus Kotick is set to receive is being viewed as bothersome by fans of the video game and esports giant, as the company now has twice laid off people after posting record earning numbers the past three years.

In its 2018 Q4 2018 earnings call which took place in early 2019, Kotick referred to 2018 as “the best in our history” and then went on to lay off 8% of the company’s workforce totaling about 750 people. And now as Kotick is set to receive a $200M bonus, Activision Blizzard will lay off another 190 people, with 50 of those coming from positions associated with esports.

The Esports Observer has reached out to Activision Blizzard for comment on this story.

Published at Wed, 17 Mar 2021 20:22:38 +0000

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