Shareholder: Activision Blizzard's vows do not go "nearly far enough"

▲ A recent employee walkout has put the spotlight on Activision Blizzard. Image via Getty Images

 

The heat got turned up on Activision Blizzard again Tuesday morning as SOC, an investment group working to improve conditions at the video game publisher riddled with controversy in recent weeks, issued a statement saying the bar for improvement isn't being set high enough. 

 

In a letter sent to Axios, SOC's executive director, Dieter Waizeneggar, said the recent promises of change within the company to provide a safer and healthier work environment going forward do not go "nearly far enough to address the deep and widespread issues with equity, inclusion, and human capital management."

 

The 15-year-old firm also said: "No changes have been announced or proposed that would in any way alter the current process for filling vacancies either to the board of directors or to senior management."

 

Waizeneggar specifically mentions WilmerHale, the independent law firm hired by the company to probe the workplace allegations within, as one that "has no track record of uncovering wrongdoing" and lacks the experience of handling workplace matters that currently plagues Activision Blizzard offices.

 

Despite being unable to directly make changes internally, SOC is calling on Activision Blizzard to put the following practices into place:

  • "Increase board diversity and equity by adding a woman director – preferably one with a history of advocacy for marginalized people and communities - by the end of 2021, committing to gender-balance on the board by 2025, and reserving at least one board seat for a nominee selected by current employees as their representative."

  •  "Claw back bonuses from executives found to have engaged in or enabled abusive behavior, award no bonuses for 2021, and make future bonus awards contingent on the company as a whole achieving clearly articulated and independently verified milestones for diversity and equity."

  •  "Undertake a company-wide Equity Review, similar to the Racial Equity Reviews that Facebook, Air B&B, Starbucks, and BlackRock have completed or promised, but that will encompass the full range of concerns (including inequities rooted in gender, gender-identity, sexuality, and race) articulated by Mr. Kotick, Activision Blizzard employees, and customers: equity and representation issues in game design, the development process, and in user forums and similar settings."

 

All of this news comes in light of the company's Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Jesse Meschuk, leaving the company last week and a 2Q earnings call not going as well as expected.

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