Bobby Kotick leaves his post as CEO of Activision-Blizzard –

In an internal memo titled “Bobby Kotick: With Gratitude,” the Activision-Blizzard CEO announced that he is leaving the leadership of video game giant Activision-Blizzard at the end of December. His reign – 32 years – was marked by successes in the video game sector, but was also marred in recent years as he was accused of fostering a sexist culture in the organization.

He remained in office despite a petition calling for his resignation that was signed by 20% of the company’s 9,500 employees in 2021 in the wake of these allegations.

However, Bobby Kotick’s departure on December 29 is no surprise: he had announced that he would leave his post following Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision-Blizzard, a deal that closed in October after a saga that spanned more than a year It will have lasted a year and a half.

The announcement also comes days after the California Department of Civil Rights (CRD) issued its ruling on allegations of widespread gender discrimination at the company.

Bobby Kotick was singled out in particular for turning a blind eye to the sexual harassment that women in the organization experienced daily and which he had known about for years without taking action to remedy it.

The CRD, which began this process in 2021, finally presented its conclusions on December 15.

According to the settlement document (New Window), neither a court nor an independent investigation has confirmed allegations that systematic or widespread sexual harassment occurred at Activision-Blizzard [ou que le conseil d’administration d’Activision Blizzard, y compris Bobby Kotick] acted inappropriately in connection with the handling of workplace misconduct cases.

If a court approves this settlement, the video game company will still have to pay $54 million (C$71.8 million) to a settlement fund intended to compensate workers. The amount will also be used to cover legal fees.

In 2022, Activision-Blizzard reached another $18 million (C$24 million) settlement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as part of another lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and discrimination within the company.

A rich career

In his farewell speech, Bobby Kotick looks back on his time at the helm of the successful game developer and publisher, having led the company since 1991.

His achievements include leading the release of the Call of Duty shooter series in 2003, which continues to enjoy great success to this day. He was also behind the success of the Guitar Hero music games, although they experienced a decline a few years later.

A video game character is dressed as a soldier and holds an impressive rifle in his hands.

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The latest game in the Call of Duty series, Modern Warfare III, was released on November 10th. It was partly designed in Quebec and Montreal by Beenox.

Photo: Activision Blizzard

Under Kotick’s leadership, Activision also purchased several studios, including Vivendi in 2007, which led to the company later being called Activision-Blizzard. This also led to the acquisition of King, the developer of the global phenomenon Candy Crush, in 2016.

Ultimately, the giant was purchased by Microsoft in October for a record $69 billion (C$91.8 billion).

“I will always be deeply grateful to the people who have worked tirelessly to build this company and am confident that you will continue to inspire joy and unite people through the power of play,” concluded Bobby Kotick in his farewell speech.

Microsoft has not yet announced who will replace him.

With information from The Verge and AFP