Activision Blizzard is starting to spin the marketing cycle back up for some of its biggest games, after going quiet for a few weeks in the wake of a lawsuit from the state of California alleging years of discrimination and harassment at the company. While CEO Bobby Kotick says “long-lasting change” is coming to Activision Blizzard, many employees have called the current response inadequate – and now, some shareholders are doing the same.
SOC Investment Group executive director Dieter Waizenegger writes in a letter to executive Robert Mordago: “At this critical juncture in Activision Blizzard’s history, we urge you and the board to push beyond the inadequate response from management and take the steps necessary to protect our investment from the financial, operational, and reputational risks that have come to the fore over the past week.”
SOC advocates for ethical business practices as part of its role as an investment group, as Axios notes. The letter calls WilmerHale, the third-party company that Activision Blizzard has hired for its internal review, “a defender of the wealthy and connected”, and says “it has no track record of uncovering wrongdoing”.
The letter asks for a more thorough equity review, and goes on to ask that a woman be added to Activision Blizzard’s board of directors by the end of the year. The company is also asked to “claw back bonuses from executives found to have engaged in or enabled abusive behavior, award no bonuses for 2021, and make future bonus awards contingent on the company as a whole achieving clearly articulated and independently verified milestones for diversity and equity”.