Bobby Kotick's Salary Upsets Activision Blizzard Shareholders

Gaming article by Robert N. Adams on Thursday, June 4, 2020 - 14:02
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A Chilly Reception

Activision Blizzard shareholders are upset that CEO Bobby Kotick's salary is as high as it is, especially in light of allegations that the company has missed several financial performance targets.

GamesIndustry.biz reports that two proxy advisory service firms have made a recommendation for ActiBlizz shareholders to vote against a proposal that would keep Kotick's compensation package in line with previous years. The recommendation was supported by the CtW Investment Group, an organization that focuses on targeting excessive executive pay and unethical corporate behavior.

"Despite repeated low approval votes from shareholders, Activision Blizzard maintains multiple, overlapping opportunities for its CEO to earn outsize equity awards, even when performance-related vesting thresholds have not been met," states the filing made to the SEC by CtW.

I'll translate that from investor-speak: the people who own parts of Activision Blizzard believe that Bobby Kotick is making too much money, even while the company is not making as much money as it should be.

In response, Activision Blizzard has listed specific numbers which it believes highlights Kotick's success as a CEO.

"In the last five years, Activision Blizzard's share price has outperformed the S&P 500 by more than 120% and over the past 20 years, under Mr. Kotick's leadership, Activision Blizzard's share price has outperformed the S&P 500 by over 11,000%," Activision Blizzard said in a statement to GameSpot.

"Over 90% of Mr. Kotick's proxy reported compensation is performance-based, and he has delivered exceptional value for Activision Blizzard's stockholders. Our equity dilution rates remain among the lowest of our peer group."

One other key number that was highlighted was the growth of the company: Activision started out with a $10 million market capitalization when Bobby Kotick came on board as CEO in 1990. 30 years later, its market capitalization is now $53 billion dollars.

Bobby Kotick's salary slice

What is Bobby Kotick's Salary?

All of this talk about compensation and equity might make you wonder: what is Bobby Kotick's salary, anyway?

According to the same reporting from GamesIndustry.biz, the SEC filing complaining about Kotick's salary lists his compensation at $100 million a year, divided between cash, stock options, and equity. Bobby Kotick is also listed at #45 in As You Sow's list of most overpaid CEOs for 2019, which lists his cash compensation as $26.698,375.

That's certainly a hefty chunk of change for one man to make, but then again, he's also been at the helm throughout the rise of the Call of Duty franchise — nevermind all of the company's other blockbuster IPs.

CtW's complaints about how much Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick is being paid certainly have merits, but it's not like Kotick has been asleep at the wheel, either. The winner of this battle may be decided on June 11, 2020, when the company has its next general meeting.

What do you think of how much Bobby Kotick is being paid as CEO of Activision Blizzard? Do you think his salary is justified? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author

A photograph of Robert N Adams

Robert N. Adams

Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!