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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Activision Approves CEO’s Controversial $155M Pay Plan

  • Shareholders of Activision approved CEO Bobby Kotick’s $155 million pay plan.
  • The process included a contentious vote and controversial delay.
Activision/Design: Alex Brooks

Shareholders of Activision Blizzard approved CEO Bobby Kotick’s $155 million pay plan — but not without a contentious vote and controversial delay. 

The vote was scheduled for June 14 but delayed so investors could thoroughly review changes made to Kotick’s compensation. 

Kotick pocketed $154.6 million last year, with most of the compensation from stock awards, despite his base salary being cut in half to $875,000 following criticism of being overpaid. 

  • Kotick’s total pay is reportedly 1,560 times that of Activision’s median employee, up from a ratio of 319:1 in 2019.
  • Stock awards were based on years of performance due to grants issued as part of his 2016 contract.

In the end, 54% of Activision’s shareholders approved the new pay plan, and during the voting process, the company’s board members were re-elected by an average of 96%. 

The approved pay package is the latest twist an up-and-down year for Activision. The company laid off around 190 employees following the news of Kotick potentially receiving $200 million in bonuses due to incentives, according to activist investor group CtW.

“Activision will be expected to make even further changes in response to a vote where 46% of shareholders expressed discontent,” Michael Varner, CtW director of executive compensation research, told Reuters.

The company’s net revenue in Q1 2021 grew 27% year-over-year on the strength of flagship gaming titles like “Call of Duty” — which saw in-game purchases grow by 60%. Monthly active users across the franchise grew 40% year-over-year, reaching 150 million in the quarter.

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