Following Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, current CEO Bobby Kotick addressed his employees to talk about what’s next in a “Fireside Chat.” During this video conference call, Kotick discussed the future of the company during the transition and also answered some employee questions. When the acquisition was announced, it was revealed that Bobby Kotick will remain the active CEO until the deal closes and would stay longer if needed to ensure a smooth transition. The deal is expected to be completed sometime in 2023. Talking about why this deal was made, Kotick said that Microsoft deeply admired Activision Blizzard and wanted to get in on investing in the metaverse. On how the transition will be handled, Kotick said that “the transition is going to be smooth because [Microsoft is] committed to trying to retain as many of our people as possible.”
Activision Blizzard has been in the spotlight over the past 6 months, following the state of California suing the company for alleged culture of sexual harassment. This led to multiple strikes, one of which was due following the report that CEO Kotick knew about the situation prior to the lawsuit.
Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said that the deal started last year. Part of the process included Microsoft absorbing the many reported challenges that Activision Blizzard faced over the past year. ” “We spent time with the Activision team looking at the incidents, looking at employee polls and then had a good discussion with them about their plan, both the progress they’ve been making and what their plan was,” Spencer said, adding that during the lengthy regulatory process Microsoft would have no involvement with Activision’s legal woes. “We had to look at that forward plan and ensure we had a kind of confidence in that.” Addressing the workplace complaints and allegations, Spencer said “I believe the leaders there believe in the opportunity they have in their plan.”
One of the questions that was asked in the “Fireside Chat was whether or not Kotick would remain as CEO. He responded by saying that the completion of the deal would follow a lengthy process. “This is a company that I’ve now been here for 31 years, and there is nothing more important to me, other than my children, than this company,” Kotick said. “I can tell you that my commitment to the company is [to] remain in my role. Once the deal closes, what I’ve committed to Microsoft is I will stay as long as is necessary to ensure that we have a great integration and a great transition.”
A Blizzard employee said that while they are optimistic about the deal and the future, they are still wary of Bobby Kotick leading up to the transition. “All the fear and anger felt is still tied up in Bobby Kotick and what harm he will inflict until the torch is passed to Microsoft,” the Blizzard employee said. “He likened Activision to be as important as his children, and I feel like he will not let go of it. With no mention of the strike, the lawsuit or any of the continuing issues, there may as well have not been a Q&A at all. We could’ve read a press release and slept an extra 15 minutes.”