Friday, April 16, 2021

Activision-Blizzard Reports More Layoffs, Claim Surfaces CEO Set to Pocket Huge Bonus

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Following news of Activision-Blizzard layoffs affecting between 50 and 190 employees, it is reported that Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick may be ready to pocket a payment of up to US $ 200 million on the basis of an incentive clause linked to actions in his employment contract. Kotaku, the union-sponsored pension fund advocacy organization CtW Investment Group, said the current surge in Activision’s share price – which has soared throughout the pandemic – will see Kotick benefit from the “Creative incentive clause for shareholder value” of Kotick’s 2016 employment contract. This payment would allow Kotick to collect incentive bonuses that it has missed in previous years.

CtW Investment Group alleges that this windfall could total up to US $ 200 million.

According to the firm website, CtW Investment Group seeks to hold “directors accountable for the company’s irresponsible and unethical behavior and excessive executive compensation.”

IGN has contacted Activision-Blizzard for comment.

Activision-Blizzard is said to have laid off nearly 190 employees, including 50 employees of the company’s esports division.

Bloomberg reports that the layoffs affected less than 2% of the company’s employees – 2% translates to around 190 employees. Fifty of these employees worked in Activision’s esports division. Laid-off U.S. workers will receive at least 90 days of severance pay and health benefits for up to a year, according to Bloomberg, and each laid-off employee has received $ 200 in gift cards at Battle.net, which is the game’s showcase. online video of the company. .Sports Affairs Journal reports that Activision chief Tony Petitti said the 50 esports-specific layoffs were the result of the company’s attempt to reinvent its esports division amid the global COVID-19 pandemic. Petitti told SBJ the company sees a future where Activision’s esports are different and “less dependent on live events.”

Activision said laid-off employees would receive “appropriate severance packages,” according to SBJ, despite the company’s change in leadership in the esports area, which is heavily focused. Overwatch League and the Call of Duty League, he doesn’t plan on straying entirely from live events. The Overwatch League and Call of Duty League have moved from live in-person events to online-only events over the past year and SBJ reports that it is possible that Activision may continue on that path for them. future events.

Petitti said the layoffs were partly due to the need to cut costs and another part of a way to free up resources to reallocate them to other areas of the business, but it’s important to note that he was talking to SBJ about the 50 esports layoffs – Pettiti didn’t. don’t tell SBJ about the other layoffs according to Bloomberg. He said the company “has learned a lot over the past year about how leagues can be structured for online gaming” and that it “will look to learn best practices from it.”“In terms of timing, it’s a reaction to the realities of how leagues play and the resources we need to allocate to better serve the league, the owners, the teams and the fans,” said Petitti.

An Activision spokesperson told Bloomberg that “gamers are increasingly choosing to connect to our games digitally and the esports team, just like the traditional sports, entertainment and broadcast industries , had to adapt its activities due to the impact of the pandemic on live events. “

This is the second major round of layoffs for the company in recent years. Activision-Blizzard laid off nearly 800 employees in March 2019, including 209 Blizzard employees.

Wesley LeBlanc is a freelance writer and guide for the IGN. You can follow it on Twitter @LeBlancWes.



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