Yesterday, the Activision Blizzard story escalated to new heights after a Wall Street Journal report claimed CEO Bobby Kotick has been lying about his role in the company’s history of sexual harassment and workplace abuses. Many employees staged a walkout yesterday to demand Kotick’s resignation, and now Activision Blizzard shareholders are calling for the same.
Related: Activision Blizzard Employees Demand Bobby Kotick Step Down Following Damning Report (UPDATE)
Several investment groups, adding up to “$329 billion in assets,” joined the SOC Investment Group (which has previously been at odds with Kotick for various reasons) in demanding not only Kotick immediately resign as CEO, but two of the company’s top board members. Those individuals are Chairman Brian Kelly, and Lead Independent Director Robert Morgado. This shareholder group has demanded the two members’ retirement by the end of the year.
In addition to the departures, the group also “urged” the board to bring a non-executive Blizzard employee to the board, cut Kotick’s pay if he doesn’t resign, and to get an “independent expert” to review the board and “determine how and why the board failed to address the company’s frat boy culture.”
The letter starts by stating Activision Blizzard “faces an unprecedented workplace crisis of its own making.” And to close the letter out, the shareholders stated, “the time for timidity and silence, if there ever was one, has clearly passed, and it is time for the Activision Blizzard board of directors to step forward or step aside.”
This follows a statement yesterday from the board of directors at Activision Blizzard affirming it intends to stand behind Kotick despite the new reports.