In the midst of the company’s ongoing lawsuits 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 this morning (spotted by Kotaku’s Ethan Gach), Kotick provided an update on what the company has done since his last underwhelming response 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, it seems this one pointedly includes his notoriously lofty bonuses, 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 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. Blizzard president J. Allen Brack and HR head Jesse Meschuk resigned in the wake of the allegations, and the studio recently renamed an Overwatch character named after a developer included in the allegations.
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