An internal memo from Microsoft confirmed that Bobby Kotick, the controversial CEO of Activision Blizzard, will leave the company on December 29.
Bobby Kotick has been CEO of Activision Blizzard — the company behind popular game franchises like Call of Duty, Candy Crush, Crash Bandicoot, and Diablo — since 1991 and is one of the most derided executives in the video game industry. Workplace conditions at companies owned by Activision Blizzard were problematic during his reign, with this all coming to a head in a 2021 lawsuit that exposed lots of misconduct, some of which allegedly applied to Kotick. He’s stayed with the company through all that and is now leaving following Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
“I will always be profoundly grateful to the people who contributed tirelessly to building this company, and I am confident you will keep inspiring joy and uniting people through the power of play,” Kotick said as part of a message about his impending departure.
According to The Verge, Bobby Kotick will step down from his role on that day and will not have a direct replacement. Instead, Microsoft will have Vice Chair Thomas Tippl, Activision Publishing President Rob Kostich, and Blizzard President Mike Ybarra report to Matt Booty, Microsoft’s game content and studios president. It also reports that more executives, including Lulu Meservey and Humam Shakhnini, will leave between now and March 2024.
“I’d like to thank Bobby — for his invaluable contributions to this industry, his partnership in closing the Activision Blizzard acquisition, and his collaboration following the close—and I wish him and his family the very best in his next chapter,” CEO of Microsoft Gaming Phil Spencer said in a memo shared by The Verge. Spencer visited these newly acquired Activision Blizzard studios earlier in the year, and it now seems like Xbox leadership will have more direct control of them going forward.
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