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Bobby Kotick Expected to Leave Activision Blizzard Following Sale to Microsoft
18/01/2022 à 13:58
With the announcement that
Activision Blizzard was being bought by Microsoft
for an astonishing $68.7 billion, CEO Bobby Kotick's role has been left somewhat unclear. Though statements from both companies have confirmed that he would continue to lead Activision through the transitory period which is expected to last until around June of 2023, both sides have remained purposefully vague as to whether the most vilified person in gaming today would continue on after the sale is finalized. In the
Wall Street Journal's report
on the matter, however, people familiar with the plans have stated that both companies agreed Kotick would depart once the deal closes.
The Wall Street Journal
Bobby Kotick, Activision’s longtime CEO, is expected to leave after the deal closes, according to people familiar with those plans. Microsoft had said in its announcement Tuesday that Mr. Kotick “will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard,” and that after the deal closes “the Activision Blizzard business will report to Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer. ” But the companies have agreed that he will depart once the deal closes, the people said.
If true, this comes as both a shock and not incredibly surprising at the same time - despite his faults, Kotick is credited for rebuilding Activision from the ground up into the juggernaut it is today, having purchased the near bankrupt company for approximately $500,000 in 1991 and leading the company through a
in it's publicly traded valuation since that time. In many ways, Bobby Kotick is synonymous with Activision and it's impossible to imagine a scenario in which he would ever willingly depart.
Activision has seen a remarkable rebirth, from bankruptcy to one of the largest gaming publishers in the world.
At the same time, Activision Blizzard's board of directors will be disbanded once it has been formally acquired by Microsoft, in the same way that Zenimax Media was purchased on March 9th of 2021. While Kotick could theoretically stay on to head the new subsidiary, the recent controversies
targeting him specifically
make it seem unlikely that Microsoft would want the negative press and potential public backlash for keeping him on board as the face of Activision. Kotick previously stated that he would
consider stepping down
if he couldn't fix the cultural problems at Activision Blizzard, which are frequently attributed to his influence, and it seems natural that Microsoft would prefer to distance themselves from the company's increasingly tarnished reputation and begin this new venture with a fresh start.
Phil Spencer (left) and Bobby Kotick (right) head Xbox and Activision Blizzard respectively.
Exactly will happen with the rest of Activision Blizzard's various leadership, and who will take the reigns on managing the still colossally sized group of studios remains to be seen. As Executive Vice President and CEO of Gaming at Microsoft, Phil Spencer will ultimately be responsible for all things related to gaming, but what shape the subordinate levels will take is unknown at this point in time.
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