Bobby Kotick, the longtime CEO of Activision, and after the merger with Vivendi Games and the newly formed Activision Blizzard, is set to leave the company on January 1, 2024, writes Ars Technica with reference to a famous gaming journalist Jason Schreier.
As the Microsoft-Activision deal closes, Bobby Kotick says he’ll stay on as CEO through the end of the year. On January 1, 2024, Kotick will depart the company he took over 33 years ago — a massive change for the video game industry
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) October 13, 2023
“As the Microsoft-Activision deal closes, Bobby Kotick says he’ll stay on as CEO through the end of the year. On January 1, 2024, Kotick will depart the company he took over 33 years ago — a massive change for the video game industry,” writes Schreier.
Several Activision Blizzard employees Schreier spoke to say they are “very excited for this deal to go through,” particularly to see a change in leadership.
In December 1990, Bobby Kotick and his business partner Brian Kelly bought a 25% stake in the nearly bankrupt Activision, then known as Mediagenic. Kotick returned the company to its former name of Activision, restructured it, and refocused it on video games. Kotick was elected CEO of Activision in February 1991.
It was Kotick who oversaw the merger of Activision with the gaming division of the French entertainment conglomerate Vivendi, which at the time included Blizzard Entertainment and Sierra Entertainment. This led to the creation of a new company, Activision Blizzard, in 2008. Activision Blizzard’s shareholders approved Kotick as CEO of the combined company on July 9, 2008.
Kotick began to be actively criticized for its leadership style in the early 2020s. The company and its CEO were accused of creating a toxic male-dominated internal culture, pay inequality, and cases of sexual harassment in the workplace. A Wall Street Journal report alleges that Kotick failed to act on hundreds of allegations of abuse at the company, and kept the company’s board of directors in the dark about it. Shareholders even filed a lawsuit against Activision. All these events led to the dismissal of low-level key employees and calls for Kotick’s resignation.
And now Kotick seems to be finally leaving. 33 years in one position in the gaming industry is a really long time, and it looks like Activision Blizzard is going to face big changes.