Activision Blizzard Hires Former Trump Administration Member Once Decried As ‘Bully’

Activision Blizzard Hires Former Trump Administration Member Once Decried As ‘Bully’
Image: Activision Blizzard / Kotaku / Pool, Getty Images
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Today, Activision Blizzard announced the promotion of Blizzard chief commercial officer and the chief operating officer Armin Zerza to CFO of the whole company. What it did not announce to the public is that it has also hired a new chief administrative officer: former Donald Trump administration member Brian Bulatao.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick informed employees of the hiring in an email, which Kotaku has viewed. In it, Kotick emphasised Bulatao’s past as a military veteran and also referenced his most recent job, Under Secretary of State for Management at the U.S. Department of State, where he worked directly under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, his longtime friend, business partner, and former West Point classmate and one of Trump’s most ardent allies. Prior to being nominated by Trump in 2018 and confirmed by the Senate in 2019, Bulatao was chief operating officer of the CIA. Kotick made note of the fact that Bulatao was in charge of “leading the State Department’s talent, diversity, and inclusion efforts,” an effort Trump put on hold through an executive order last September.

“Brian is a rare talent, and the perfect fit for Activision Blizzard; his unparalleled combination of business, military, and government experience makes him ideally suited to accelerate our organizational transformation and deliver on great opportunities for future growth,” Kotick wrote in the email to employees.

At Activision Blizzard, Bulatao will oversee the Call of Duty Endowment, which is a veteran-focused non-profit founded by Kotick, as well as “key administrative functions including the Corporate Social Responsibility activities across Activision Blizzard, People, IT, Workplace Information, and Physical Security.” He will have “management responsibility” in a few other areas across the company.

Last year, Bulatao came under public scrutiny as part of the House Democrats’ probe into Trump’s firing of the State Department’s independent watchdog, Inspector General Steve Linick. Linick, who’d been conducting an investigation into possible misuse of government resources by Pompeo before conspicuously getting fired, testified in June 2020 that Bulatao “tried to bully” him on multiple occasions, including during an investigation into the Trump administration’s 2019 sale of $US8 ($10) billion in arms to Saudi Arabia. Linick also said that despite his job under Pompeo, Bulatao seemed to be “unfamiliar with the role of inspectors general.” Linick contended that he was fired for “no valid reason,” which Bulatao refuted in his own testimony in September 2020, asserting instead that Trump “lost confidence” in him for a variety of reasons.

Last year, citing sources that previously worked within the State Department, Business Insider published a report calling Bulatao “Mike Pompeo’s attack dog” and accusing him of overseeing extravagant spending on non-foreign policy related things like campaign events and donor dinners as well as “an unprecedented ousting of career ambassadors” and other personnel issues. The report also pointed out that the new acting Inspector General, Stephen Akard, had not left his previous post as Director of Foreign Missions and would thus report directly to Bulatao despite the conflict of interest that would benefit Pompeo, Bulatao’s close friend and boss. This drew criticism from Democratic politicians at the time. Akard resigned months later.

Activision Blizzard’s hiring of Bulatao follows an early March announcement that the company had brought on Frances F. Townsend, a former George W. Bush-era counterterrorism appointee and torture apologist, as its new head of compliance. Bulatao, who Kotick commended in his email for his newfound commitment to “epic entertainment,” will at least find himself in familiar company.

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Comments

  • ‘his unparalleled combination of business, military, and government experience makes him ideally suited to accelerate our organizational transformation’

    Yep, got to have that military experience to run a videogame company. Makes sense.

    • It’s weird to think about but the US military has a long and close history with game development, especially with games like CoD.
      (I would wager that franchise has provided a measurable contribution to recruitment over the years)
      The kinds of connections and influence this guy brings to the table is both substantial and terrifying.

    • To play devil’s advocate for a second… Say someone is hiring for a logistics management position. Do you really think they’re not going to put someone who spent years working logistics chains in the military up at the top of their list?

      I know zero about this guy, he could be everything they claim and worse.

      I don’t need to know for my point though… Which is that he could’ve been a glorified fuckin’ janitor or something, and we all know ActiBlizz are always doing some shit that needs cleaning up.

    • When the orange man is behind bars or well and truely left behind in history, we can stop writing about him.

    • Given how reliably certain clowns will jump in whenever a certain foul orange dingleberry is brought up (only once this month to my recollection, though I’m sure you can correct me in great detail if I’m wrong), it’s not Nathan that needs to let things go.

    • He’s not gone. He’s still alive, still talking to the media, still in effective control of the Republican Party and still likely to run again in four years’ time.

      Furthermore, his arsehole enablers are also still around and still deserving of criticism and in at least one case have recently been promoted to a senior executive position in the video game company.

      No dude, the evil side of American politics didn’t just up and dissipate into thin air the minute your mate Donald lost the election. And yeah, a lot of us will continue to be traumatised by the last four years in American politics for many more years to come.

      • ” a lot of us will continue to be traumatised by the last four years in American politics for many more years to come.”

        Traumatized?

        LOL.

        “the evil side of American politics didn’t just up and dissipate into thin air the minute your mate Donald lost the election.”

        As I’ve stated previously, If I was American I would have voted 3rd party in both previous elections. Both Democrats and Republicans have completely lost touch with reality. Seemingly more interested in supporting Israel and the Saudi royal family than their own constituents.

        • It surprises me not one bit dude that you would throw any influence you might have to change anything away in favour of an impotent, angry gesture.

          • The Democrats had a chance at influence with Bernies sanders, Instead, they have twice done everything to stop him to have a candidate that better suits their elite benefactors.

            I would have voted for Bernie. Clinton was a puppet for the US military-industrial complex and Biden is the same but also a senile moron.

      • Hahaha!!

        “No dude, the evil side of American politics didn’t just up and dissipate into thin air…”

        Hahahahaha!! Give us another one Angryfish!

        • You’ve got it around the wrong way. You guys drop in, frothing at the mouth, into even the most trivial article concerning a social justice issue. I then drop by and point out that you guys are behaving like big nobs. That’s the dynamic here.

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