Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick announced this week a series of changes the publisher intends to enact in the wake of the ongoing lawsuit and investigations the company faces. Among those changes are a new company-wide zero-tolerance policy regarding harassment wherein verbal and written warnings and other disciplinary actions will no longer cut it when dealing with harassment. Kotick himself also asked that his own salary be reduced to "the lowest amount California law will allow for people earning a salary."
Kotick's statements were sent in a letter to Activision Blizzard employees also as a press release to announce the changes Activision Blizzard plans to make. Headlining those changes was the new zero-tolerance policy regarding harassment which is what the main lawsuit currently aimed at the company centers on.
"We are launching a new zero-tolerance harassment policy company-wide – In the past, when we discovered and substantiated harassment, we terminated some employees and provided verbal or written warnings or different disciplinary actions to others," Kotick said. "In retrospect, to achieve our goals for workplace excellence, this approach is no longer adequate. We need tougher rules and consistent monitoring across the entire company to make sure reports are being handled correctly and discipline is appropriate and swift."
Four additional changes Activision Blizzard plans to implement followed the zero-tolerance harassment policy. The company plans to increase the percentage of women and non-binary people in its workforce by 50% and will also invest $250 million "to accelerate opportunities for diverse talent." Under this same initiative is a commitment to put an additional $250 million over the next 10 years towards gaming and tech opportunities for under-represented communities.
The rest of the proposed changes include the waiving of required arbitration of sexual harassment and discrimination claims, increased visibility on pay equity, and regular progress updates.
To help reach these goals, Kotick said he's asked the Activision Blizzard board to reduce his own salary to the lowest California will allow until it's been deemed that the goals have been sufficiently met. Kotick's salary and overall compensation at Activision Blizzard have long been subjects of scrutiny and have often been referenced amid the ongoing lawsuit and investigations.
"Lastly, I want to ensure that every available resource is being used in the service of becoming the industry leader in workplace excellence," Kotick said. "Accordingly, I have asked our Board of Directors to reduce my total compensation until the Board has determined that we have achieved the transformational gender-related goals and other commitments described above. Specifically, I have asked the Board to reduce my pay to the lowest amount California law will allow for people earning a salary, which this year is $62,500. To be clear, this is a reduction in my overall compensation, not just my salary. I am asking not to receive any bonuses or be granted any equity during this time."
Kotick said specifics on how the measures outlined above will be implemented will be shared in the future.