Activision reaches a sad new low with plans for workplace committees

Activision Blizzards company logo

Picture: Activision Blizzard

Faced with internal unrest, plunged stock prices and a growing PR disaster, men and women were at the very top of Activision Blizzard – the senior executives and Board of Directors– everyone should resign. Instead, they have issued a desperate press release in the middle of the night announces the formation of a “workplace responsibility committee”.

This committee will apparently “monitor the company’s progress in implementing its new policies, procedures and commitments to improve the workplace culture and eliminate all forms of harassment and discrimination in the company”. Policies that will reportedly not retroactively apply to CEO Bobby Kotick’s conduct.

Activision has appointed the only two women on its ten-man board to chair this committee, and will soon add a “new, diverse director to the board” for the sake of good order. And how will this committee work? Like this:

The committee will require management to develop key performance indicators and / or other means to measure progress and ensure accountability. The CEO, Bobby Kotick, along with the Chief People Officer and Chief Compliance Officer, will provide frequent progress reports to the committee, which will regularly brief the full Board. The Committee is empowered to hire external consultants or advisers, including an independent legal adviser, to assist in its work.

So the committee, which consists of two members of the board, will brief the board of which Kotick is a member. And external advisors can be consulted, but there is no mention of input from Activision Blizzard’s nearly 10,000 strong workforce. The advertisement ends with:

While the company, with the support of the board of directors, has made important progress in improving the workplace culture, it is clear that the current circumstances require increased board involvement. The formation of the committee and further future changes will help facilitate further direct supervision and transparency and ensure that the company’s obligations to Activision Blizzard’s workforce are carried out with urgency. This has been a challenging time across the company, but the board is convinced of the steps that are underway to enable the company to future success.

It has been a challenging time because Kotick and other senior executives have helped promote, and then protect, a culture of harassment and misogyny in the company, while the board, consists of many of Kotick’s old friends, continue to give him their full support. They did nothing in the ten years leading up to the trial that blew it all up, and when given the chance to make changes in the months since July, installed Blizzard’s first female co-head and then drove her out feels “tokenized, marginalized and discriminated against”.

The workers and fans of Activision Blizzard do not need more selections, least of all from the people who brought them into this mess in the first place. They need everyone responsible for it gone.


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