Activision Blizzard investors have spoken out against Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick’s $30 million pay, and have urged shareholders to vote against his compensation package.
As reported by Bloomberg, the Executive Director of CtW Investment Group accused Activision Blizzard of finding “multiple ways to unnecessarily enrich” Kotick, even when he didn’t meet his performance targets. His pay first came under heavy scrutiny when Activision Blizzard laid off 800 staff members in 2019, but continued to award the CEO a lavish compensation. CtW’s Dieter Waizenegger also pointed out that Activision Blizzard employees typically earn less than “1/3 of 1 percent of the CEO’s earnings, with some employees, such as Junior Developers, making less than $40,000 a year while living in high-cost areas such as southern California.”
“Despite repeated low approval votes from shareholders, Activision Blizzard maintains multiple, overlapping opportunities for its CEO to earn outsize equity awards,” Waizenegger complained. “Over the past four years, Activision Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick has received over $20 million in combined stock/option equity per year. These equity grants have consistently been larger than the total pay (the sum of base salary, annual bonus, and equity pay) of CEO peers at similar companies.”
Waizenegger also took issue with Activision Blizzard awarding Kotick incentives for things like mergers and exploring strategic opportunities, which he argues is a CEO’s job. “There is no justification for providing an executive with additional incentives to pursue a merger or similar strategic transaction when that executive has already accumulated substantial holdings through equity grants,” he concluded.
The vote will take place on June 11th.