Bobby Kotick will officially step down as CEO of Activision Blizzard on December 29, 2023. According to an internal memo, Blizzard Vice Chairman Humam Sakhnini will also leave, Activision Blizzard chief communications officer Lulu Meservey will leave in January, and several other executives will depart in March. Kotick has been at the helm of Activision since 1991. At Activision Blizzard, he oversaw popular game franchises including Call of Duty, Diablo, Starcraft and World of Warcraft, and after the company acquired mobile studio King in 2016, he also oversaw the development of Candy Crush. The company has reached $7.5 billion in revenue in 2022.
Activision Blizzard also ran into problems under Kotick’s leadership. The company was sued by the California Office of Civil Rights in 2021 over allegations of sexism, discrimination and harassment. At the time, all top management positions at Activision Blizzard were held by men. In November 2021, The Wall Street Journal reported that Kotick has long ignored and helped cover up sexual harassment cases at the game studio. In response, Activision Blizzard employees staged a strike and demanded Kotick’s resignation, but a 2022 shareholder vote kept him in place.
In 2022, Activision was bought by Microsoft for $69 billion. Once the Microsoft purchase went through, Kotick said he would only stay on until the end of 2023. According to Bloomberg, he had Kotick will earn $375 million on the acquisition and will receive a $14.6 million severance package.