Ahead of Activision’s earnings report, the publisher’s CEO, Bobby Kotick has pledged to cut his CEO salary to the minimum until the company’s Board of Directors has reached the “transformational gender-related goals” Kotick has laid out in an open letter to all employees.
Kotick has been one of the highest-paid CEOs in the US, who took a voluntary pay cut earlier this year which was $1,750,000 to $875,000 USD. It should be noted Kotick’s recently requested salary reduction to $62,500 USD isn’t just for his base salary, but he’s also requesting to not receive any bonuses or equity during this time. In the letter, Bobby Kotick apologizes to employees and thanked them for working during these difficult times which include both the COVID-19 pandemic and the company’s saga of harassment/discrimination allegations that were brought to the surface back in July.
“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,” Activision CEO, Bobby Kotick said in a letter to all Activision employees. “You have my commitment that we will do everything possible to honour our values and create the workplace every member of this team deserves.”
Kotick adds that the publisher needs to do better for its employees, the Activision CEO previously claimed in an earnings call that the company would “set the example” on how to handle sexual harassment and discrimination in the games industry. In the letter, Bobby Kotick has laid out those previously mentioned “transformational gender-related goals” in a letter to all Activision employees which are listed below.
- We are launching a new zero-tolerance harassment policy company-wide.
- We will increase the percentage of women and non-binary people in our workforce by 50% and will invest $250 million to accelerate opportunities for diverse talent.
- Based on feedback from employees, we are waiving the required arbitration of sexual harassment and discrimination claims.
- We will continue to increase visibility on pay equity.
- We will provide regular progress updates.
The letter itself is the fallout after it was publicly revealed that the company was being sued by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) following a two-year investigation. It has been well documented at this point that Activision has been accused of fostering a “frat boy culture” at the company that allowed for gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment which has led to many key figures leaving the company. Following that, In September it was revealed Activision was dealing with multiple federal investigations including one from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which Activision settled in an $18 million USD fund to former/current employees.
“The EEOC’s review was a catalyst to sharpen [Activision’s] focus on the ways [it] can become a company others emulate as a model for workplace excellence and one with an unwavering commitment to its values,” Kotick said.