Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick Halves Pay, Still Rich

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick Halves Pay, Still Rich
SUN VALLEY, ID - JULY 09: Bobby Kotick, Director and Chief Executive Officer of Activision, arrives for the Allen & Co. annual conference on July 9, 2013 in Sun Valley, Idaho. (Photo: Kevork Djansezian / Staff, Getty Images)

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick is voluntarily halving his salary, as well as his target annual bonus. But in case you were worried, he’s still making a ton of money.

Recent SEC filings show the salary cut as a reduction to $US875,000 ($1,126,563), down from $US1,750,000 ($2,253,125). The annual bonus cut, meanwhile, is “a potential reduction of $US1,750,000 ($2,253,125)” for the 2021 and 2022 fiscal years. All of this comes as Activision Blizzard extends Kotick’s employment through March 31, 2023.

However, Kotick can still earn an annual bonus for those years up to 200% of his new smaller salary, based on a host of factors laid out in the filing. The filing notes that under Kotick’s leadership, the company’s “market capitalisation has increased from less than $US10 ($13) million to over $US70 ($90) billion dollars.” Basically, Activision Blizzard is doing fine, financially, and that means that even with this dramatic cut, Kotick is set up to do just fine too.

“The Board worked with the Company and has established a pay program for the CEO that reflects shareholder feedback, incorporates market best practices, and continues to directly connect pay to performance,” the filing reads.

That feedback includes ire from shareholders over Kotick’s pay and the multiple extra bonuses he’s been eligible for, with the CtW Investment Group pointing out in a 2020 statement that Activision Blizzard employees “typically earn less than 1/3 of 1% of the CEO’s earnings,” with some earning under $US40k. Meanwhile, the company has gone through several rounds of layoffs, losing hundreds of employees in 2019, followed by further layoffs in 2020 and 2021.

Kotick spoke a bit about those layoffs at the GamesBeat Summit yesterday, touting 2,500 possible openings at the company and, confusingly, worrying out loud over competing for potential new hires with places like Apple and Facebook. “Over the next three years, I think that you’ll see the company will be very challenged to hire the thousands of additional people that we will need to just meet our production schedules and production plans that we have in place today,” Kotick said.

I won’t say it’s not nice to see Kotick taking less of the pie, especially at a time when billionaires get richer while the rest of the world tries to figure out how to make it to the next paycheck. But he’s still got a lot of pie on his plate.


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