End of an Epoch: Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick’s Imminent Departure Post Microsoft Deal

After an arduous span of 20 months, Phil Spencer, the steward of Microsoft’s Xbox division, declared that Activision Blizzard has gracefully amalgamated into the Xbox Game Studios tapestry. In a monumental acquisition back in January 2022, Microsoft endeavored to purchase the gaming titan, Activision Blizzard, at a staggering $95 per share. The total fiscal magnitude of this transaction reached a lofty $68.7 billion, marking it as Microsoft’s most opulent procurement in its storied chronicle.

Subsequently, in a missive dispatched by Activision Blizzard to its cadre, it was validated that Phil Spencer has beseeched CEO Bobby Kotick to perpetuate his tenure at Activision Blizzard, providing counsel and guidance through the year’s end, thereby ensuring a seamless transitional epoch post-acquisition. This portends that as the first dawn of the upcoming year breaks, Bobby Kotick is slated to make his exit.

Microsoft's acquisition Activision Blizzard EU

Tracing back to 1991, Bobby Kotick, in concert with his associate Brian Kelly, ventured to secure a 25% equity stake in the then-precariously positioned Activision, then christened as ‘Brian Kelly.’ Following this, the entity underwent a transformative rebranding and restructuring, resolutely pivoting its focus to the realm of electronic gaming. By February 1991, Bobby Kotick had ascended to the company’s helm as CEO, and between the years 1997 and 2003, he orchestrated the acquisition of nine studios. Come July 2008, in a merger of grandeur, Activision Blizzard coalesced with Vivendi Games, heralding Bobby Kotick’s tenure as the CEO of the newly minted entity.

Bobby Kotick, expressing his fervor, proclaimed that both he and Brian Kelly are elated to witness Activision Blizzard embark on its next illustrious chapter, now under the aegis of one of the globe’s most triumphant conglomerates. They stand poised to harness unparalleled opportunities and envision connecting the world through the immersive medium of Activision Blizzard’s games.

Of late, Bobby Kotick has been ensnared in a whirlwind of critiques. For instance, amidst the pandemic’s fiscal stringency, while Activision Blizzard took the austere step of severing a sizable contingent of its workforce, Kotick, through certain “incentive clauses” in his contract, amassed a staggering remuneration of $200 million within a month. In a subsequent gesture, perhaps to quell the brewing storm of public umbrage, Kotick extended his contractual tenure, concurrently agreeing to a halving of his base remuneration and annual bonuses. Additionally, in 2021, Activision Blizzard found itself embroiled in a maelstrom of controversy, with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) levying charges against the firm on counts of gender employment discrimination, retaliation against employees, failure to prevent gender discrimination and harassment, and wage disparities. This litigation sent shockwaves through the industry, casting shadows of skepticism over Bobby Kotick’s stewardship.