According to people familiar with his statements, Activision Blizzard Inc. Chief Executive Bobby Kotick has told senior managers that if he can’t rapidly remedy the company’s culture problems, he’ll consider leaving.
In a Friday meeting with executives of the company’s Blizzard Entertainment unit, Kotick, who has led Activision ATVI, -0.46 percent for three decades, stopped short of saying he would step down, but left the possibility open if misconduct issues across the company weren’t fixed “with speed,” according to these people.
After a Wall Street Journal investigation claimed that Kotick knew about charges of sexual harassment and assault earlier than previously reported, several business employees staged a walkout last Tuesday.
The comments by Kotick on Friday were part of a series of internal meetings held by Activision last week, during which he and other members of the management team visited with employees to reiterate their commitment to a healthy workplace, according to people familiar with the meetings. Employees, investors, and business partners at Activision have chastised Kotick and the firm for how they handled sexual misconduct complaints. Following a Wall Street Journal article exposing his handling of sexual-misconduct allegations and various regulatory probes into the company’s culture, some employees and investors have asked for him to quit. Requests for comment were not returned by a corporate spokesman.
Activision’s stock has dropped about 14% since the Journal report was published online on Nov. 16, and nearly 30% since the first of the regulatory inquiries into the company’s culture was made public in late July.