CtW Investor Group is reporting that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick is set to receive a huge cash payout of $200 million. According to a statement, the firm is rather unhappy with this, as it appears to come hand in hand with a loophole in the system. CtW is an activist investor group who’s mission is to hold directors and executives accountable for what they describe as irresponsible and unethical corporate behavior. The numbers reported appear to be from their own calculations.
Kotick will reportedly receive this massive payout thanks to the “Shareholder Value Creation Incentive” provision in his employment agreement. This loophole allows Kotick to get a full performance equity payout from previous years regardless of whether company milestones were met. With the company’s share price increasing over 66 percent since December 2019, Kotick will cash in rewards dating back to 2017.
CtW Investment Group gave a statement which reflected similarly to what was previously said last year when thy criticized the Activision Blizzard CEO for making more than $30 million in 2019.
“While the increase in Activision’s stock price is somewhat commendable, as we stated last year and continue to assert, this achievement alone does not justify such a substantial pay outcome for the CEO,” director of executive compensation research Michael Varner said. “There are many factors that may contribute to a rise in this particular company’s stock price that may not be directly attributable to Robert Kotick’s leadership. The use of video games as one of the few entertainment options available amid the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, has been a boon to many companies in the gaming industry irrespective of executive talent or strategic decisions.”
Throughout 2020, the CtW has taken aim at both Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts for exorbitant pay of their executives. However, the two company’s care little about the criticisms, defending Kotick’s payout and voting against a compensation package. Kotick, along with EA CEO Andre Wilson, has been ranked some of the country’s most-overpaid CEO’s in the past.
Although the two are likely to not be connected, Activision Blizzard has reportedly laid off 190 employees. 50 of those were responsible for live events like esports matches.