Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick Officially Departs Amidst Microsoft Acquisition

Kotick Leaves Activision Blizzard With $400 Million Pay Package as Microsoft Restructures Leadership

After nearly three decades at the helm, Bobby Kotick, CEO and founder of Activision Blizzard, officially bids farewell following Microsoft’s acquisition of the gaming giant. The departure, which was initially reported two years ago, became official on December 29, 2023. Kotick’s exit was anticipated as part of the deal, and it comes amidst significant leadership changes within the organization.

Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer, recognizing the value of Activision Blizzard’s talents and ambitious goals, had initially requested Kotick to stay on during the transition. In a memo to staff, Kotick expressed confidence in Microsoft’s leadership, citing shared values and passion for the gaming industry.

As part of his departure, Kotick is rumored to receive a substantial pay package, estimated to be around $400 million. While there are no immediate plans to replace him directly, Microsoft is implementing a new organizational structure. Blizzard president Mike Ybaara, Activision Publishing president Rob Kostich, and Activision Blizzard vice chair Thomas Tippl will report to Xbox executive Matt Booty.

Bobby Kotick

The leadership shakeup doesn’t stop with Kotick; Activision Blizzard communications head Lulu Meservey is set to depart on January 31, and Blizzard and King vice chairman Humam Sakhnini is leaving at the end of December. Additionally, The Verge reports that several other executives from Activision Blizzard will exit in March, although specific names have not been disclosed.

Kotick’s departure marks the end of an era that began in 1991 when he assumed the role of Activision’s CEO. However, his tenure was not without controversy, with the company facing allegations of fostering a “frat boy” workplace culture leading to a $54 million settlement with the state of California and an additional $47 million for female employees.

Investigations into Activision’s board, including Kotick, found no evidence of wrongdoing according to the settlement agreement. Despite these legal challenges, the acquisition by Microsoft, valued at $69 billion, was a strategic move that reshapes the gaming landscape.

As Activision Blizzard undergoes this significant transition, Microsoft’s leadership changes indicate a commitment to reshaping the company’s culture and direction, aiming for a more accountable and inclusive workplace. The restructuring aligns with the broader industry trend of addressing workplace issues and fostering positive, forward-looking environments.