Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick Delivers New Mission Statement During Investor Conference Call
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick began the
quarterly investor earnings conference call
with a strongly worded opening statement, stating emphatically that discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment would not be tolerated. Calling for Activision Blizzard to become a company that sets an example within the industry, he went on to announce that people would be held accountable for their actions and management or leaders found to impede investigations would similarly be fired. The CEO also highlighted
newly appointed co-leaders of Blizzard Entertainment
, Jennifer Oneal and Mike Ybarra, as well as Blizzard Entertainment co-founder Allen Adham, calling them the very best examples of leadership, character, and accountability.
Bobby Kotick, CEO Activision Blizzard
I want to start by making clear to everyone that there is no place at our company where discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind will be tolerated. Nowhere. We so appreciate the current and former employees who have come forward in the past and recent days with courage. I want to reiterate the commitments we have made to you. Our work environment, everywhere we operate, will not permit discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment. We will be a company that sets the example for this in our industry.
While we’ve taken many steps towards this objective already, today we are taking even more. Jennifer Oneal and Mike Ybarra have been named the new co-leads for Blizzard. Jen has been with the company for 18 years, she’s the former CEO of our studio Vicarious Visions, and more recently, Head Production and Development Oversight for our Diablo and Overwatch franchises. Mike has been in our industry for over 20 years, including leadership roles in Microsoft’s Xbox division and Blizzard as General Manager of Battle.net. I’m also pleased to have Allen Adham here today. As most of you know, Allen is one of the founders of Blizzard. After a 12 year hiatus, Allen returned to Blizzard to lead our New Product and New IP Incubation efforts.
Each of these individuals brings vast industry experience and tremendous integrity to their roles. They are the very best examples of leadership with character and accountability. I’m confident this team will ensure that Blizzard provides a welcoming, comfortable, and safe workplace, that is essential to foster creativity and inspiration. In addition, we’ll continue to investigate each and every claim and complaint that we receive. When we learn of shortcomings, we will take decisive action. And to strengthen our capabilities in this area, we’ll be adding additional staff and resources. People will be held accountable for their actions. That commitment means we’ll not just terminate employees where appropriate, but we’ll also terminate any management or leader found to have impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences. Because our work cannot be successful without diverse voices, views, and talents, we made a commitment to consider diverse slates of candidates for all open positions and will continue to add resources to ensure this occurs throughout the company.
Over the past several years, we’ve made significant changes to address company culture, reflect more diversity within our leadership teams, and create environments conducive to reporting any type of misconduct. We’ve amplified internal programs that encourage employees to report violations. We’ve reinforced channels for employees to voice concerns in confidential and safe ways without any fear of retaliation. We’re directing additional resources to our compliance and employee relation teams, dedicated to investigating complaints. We pride ourselves on paying our employees competitively and fairly for equal or substantially similar work. We regularly review our compensation to ensure that we remain equitable in our approach. We take a variety of proactive steps to ensure that pay is driven by nondiscriminatory factors such as performance, role, and expertise. And we conduct extensive anti-discrimination training, including for all employees involved in the compensation process. Our workplace initiatives are crucial to our continued success and our leadership in this effort is my priority. Our workplace safety also remains my priority, and as we consider our return to work initiatives, we remain focused on providing the very best healthcare for our employees and their families.
You have my unwavering commitment that we will continue to focus on serving our players, and delivering the sustainable growth that you’ve come to expect, and we will take all necessary actions to foster a culture that is supportive and welcoming for all of our employees. And we expect to be the very best example for other companies to emulate.
These sentiments echo those contained within the
second quarter press release
, and were repeated by each of the executives present during the call at every opportunity, although despite repeatedly hammering home that "harassment and discrimination has no place at Activision Blizzard," little was said aside from what was already outlined by the CEO. Likewise, no statements were made regarding recent
, such as their call for
Fran Townsend to step down
as Executive Sponsor of the Employee Women's Network or their
rejection of the choice of the WilmerHale law firm to review company policies
, due to its history of anti-union tactics and prior working relationship with Activision Blizzard.
Although we can give the CEO some credit for using strong words and taking the time to express a powerful mission statement, it's not at all unfair for fans and disenfranchised employees to feel skeptical, as
have continued to
claims of competitive pay are questionable at best
. As we've learned, the
actions reported by employees
over these allegations speak louder than any words or hollow promises, so we can bet that the world will be watching Activision Blizzard's future actions very closely for quite some time.
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