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Activision CEO Bobby Kotick to leave after Microsoft deal closes, report claims

Bobby Kotick, who has been CEO of Activision since 1991, will leave the company after Microsoft finalises its acquisition

Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick is expected to depart the company once Microsoft finalises the deal to acquire Activision-Blizzard, according to reports. Microsoft’s official announcement indicates that Kotick will stay on as CEO of Activision-Blizzard until the deal closes, which is expected to take place before July 2023. After that, the companies expect him to leave, according to reporting by the Wall Street Journal.

Microsoft’s plan to acquire Activision-Blizzard for nearly $70 billion sent shockwaves through the games industry when it was announced January 18, and initially it was unclear what plans were for executive-level leadership once the buyout was finalised. Kotick said that he had told Microsoft that following the acquisition, he would “be available to ensure that we are going to have the very best integration,” the WSJ reports.

The WSJ’s sources, however, have indicated that Kotick will leave one the deal is completed. Indeed, it appears that it was the Journal’s bombshell report in November, which included interviews with current and former Activision-Blizzard employees and a review of a trove of internal company memos, that set the acquisition in motion.

That report alleged that Kotick had been aware of complaints of employee mistreatment, harassment, and abuse at Activision-Blizzard for years before regulatory agencies in the US began investigating the company. Kotick reportedly informed the Activision board that he would resign if these matters weren’t fixed “with speed.” But by that time, it seems Microsoft had already approached him about a sale, according to the WSJ’s reporting.

We’ve summarized the lawsuits against Activision-Blizzard, and their  ongoing aftermath, if you’re keen to learn more.