The recent controversies at Activision Blizzard have led to calls for the company’s top leadership to be reshuffled, with some arguing for the resignation of the company’s CEO and Chairman. The controversy, which has centered on several company leaders continuing to draw their salaries despite being leave of absence, has led to calls for major changes within the board of directors, including a complete reshuffle of the board that could include an interim step of replacing the current board of directors with new ones.
A group of investors filed suit against Activision Blizzard over the handling of a major data breach that affected millions of its customers. The shareholders allege that the company’s board of directors improperly responded to the breach, which has resulted in shareholder losses totalling $5.9 billion. The lawsuit demands the board of directors be replaced in its entirety.
In a bombshell letter sent to Activision-Blizzard COO Thomas Tippl on Wednesday, the two hedge funds that collectively own nearly 5% of the video game giant’s stock called for the removal of CEO Bobby Kotick and (CEO Michael) Morhaime from their current roles, the renaming of the company and the replacement of the board.
Shareholders have already filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against Activision-Blizzard, claiming that the firm concealed critical information regarding its legal woes, thus defrauding investors. Even stockholders who aren’t part of the class-action lawsuit aren’t happy with how the business has handled the aftermath since California filed its massive sexual discrimination/harassment case in July.
SOC Investment Group is one of them, and before we go any further, it’s worth noting that SOC Investment Group is apparently a new name for CtW Investment Group, an activist group that has previously claimed to represent shareholders of multiple companies in the executive pay arena, including Activision-Blizzard. However, under the SOC Investment Group banner, the coalition has made its position as an actual shareholder in Activision-Blizzard clear in an open letter from its Executive Director, Dieter Waizeneggar, to Activision-lead Blizzard’s independent director, Robert Morgado; it claims it not only is a shareholder but also “works with” union-sponsored pension funds with “over $250 billion in assets under management.”
Waizeneggar says, “The improvements Mr. Kotick has outlined do not go nearly far enough to solve the company’s deep and pervasive problems with equality, inclusiveness, and human capital management.” He criticizes Bobby Kotick’s selected legal firm, WilmerHale, for failing to suggest suitable modifications to hiring or compensation clawbacks for offenders.
“The announced Wilmer Hale review is deficient in a number of ways: this firm has a sterling reputation as a defender of the wealthy and connected, but it has no track record of uncovering wrongdoing; the lead investigator lacks in-depth experience investigating workplace harassment and abuse; and the scope of the investigation fails to address the full range of equity issues Mr. Kotick raised.
SOC Investment Group also demands that the board undergo a full equity review and rework its makeup to “increase board diversity and equity by adding a woman director – preferably one with a history of advocacy for marginalized people and communities – by the end of 2021, committing to gender-balance on the board by 2025, and reserving at least one board seat for a nominee selected by c”
• Activision-Blizzard shareholder group slams company’s reaction to crisis, wants board change • Blizzard reportedly fired three additional important developers, including Diablo IV’s game director Blizzard employees discuss the negative effects of boycotts, while fans bemoan the game’s steep fall . • Activision-Blizzard: Frances Townsend steps down from one studio position, Jeff Kurtenacker leaves • Diablo community manager describes poor pay, a sexually hostile atmosphere, and abuse at Blizzard • Activision-Blizzard sexism scandal day 17: More esports sponsors contemplate leaving Overwatch League • Activision-Blizzard sexism scandal day 18: More esports sponsors consider ditching Overwatch League Blizzard may live on, but it will never be Blizzard again, according to the patch notes. • • Q2 2021: Activision sales are up, Blizzard MAUs are down amid sexism controversy • Activision-Blizzard Day 14: Brack and Meschuk departures, fraud lawsuit, proto-union, and Q2 financials By not working at Blizzard, the gamer in the notorious BlizzCon video claims she “dodged a bullet.” • Former ArenaNet co-founder Jeff Strain pushes for game dev unionization ahead of today’s investor call • Blizzard’s J. Allen Brack resigns ahead of today’s investor call • Has Blizzard’s sexism lawsuit changed your gaming plans? • WoW Factor: Why does this latest Blizzard scandal feel so different? • Blizzard Day 9: Ubisoft stands in solidarity, Ashes of Creation buys Blizzard workers lunch • Activision-Blizzard walkout organizers respond to Kotick, Kotaku exposes ‘Cosb’ Does Every Voice Matter at Blizzard? Massively OP Podcast Episode 332: Does Every Voice Matter at Blizzard? • Blizzard employees are planning a strike over a sexism controversy, and the World of Warcraft team is addressing the playerbase. • Casually Classic: Deciding whether or not to leave World of Warcraft The sexism issue at Blizzard continues, with 2500 developers signing a letter criticizing Acti-reaction. Blizz’s MMO Week in Review: The Blizzard You Thought You Knew Has Passed Away • Blizzard’s culture of “abuse, inequity, and apathy” has been apologized for by Chris Metzen. ‘I am very sorry that I failed you,’ Mike Morhaime says to female Blizzard employees. The World of Warcraft Factor: No monarch can reign forever Activision pushes down on deflection as J Allen Brack confronts Blizzard employees over sexism controversy Furious World of Warcraft gamers conduct a protest against Activision Blizzard • California has filed a lawsuit against Activision-Blizzard for discrimination and a misogynistic, poisonous workplace atmosphere.
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