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Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take-Two Interactive, took some time on the company’s analyst conference call Monday to outline the company’s efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Diversity rarely appears on Wall Street analyst calls for video game companies, as the topic typically centers around the company’s finances. But that was the case this week, thanks to explosive news from July 21 that one of the biggest companies in the industry, Activision Blizzard, was the victim of a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the California State Department of Employment and Housing.

In his opening remarks at the first fiscal quarter (second calendar quarter), Zelnick said: “I am also proud that we have deepened our focus on corporate responsibility, and we recently made several key recruitments to lead our efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion.

It reminded me that Take-Two used their time at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) online shopping event this year to host a diversity panel. But I can’t say I ever remember diversity on a Wall Street analyst call in the past.

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First question

Above: Strauss Zelnick, Managing Director of Take-Two Interactive.

Image Credit: Take-Two Interactive

An analyst asked for the company’s perspective on diversity during the call.

“Look, our most important asset here is our people, because they create everything that we can bring to consumers,” Zelnick said. “We are an intellectual property company. And our strategy, our stated strategy, has always been to be the most creative, innovative and efficient company in the industry. Diversity is the key to our success, we need to have a diverse perspective and voices in order to create this quality. So it starts at the top.

He noted that the company’s board of directors is diverse in terms of gender, race and skill set. He said the management team is “extremely diverse” from a gender perspective.

“Therefore, our voices are diverse. But we don’t stop there, ”Zelnick said. “We are also reaching out to the community to create a larger and more diverse pool from which we can refer and our competitors can recruit in the future. We therefore work together on service projects sponsored by the company and the communities in which we operate. We encourage individual volunteering and giving through our philanthropic and matching giving programs.

He said the company supports organizations that focus on improving diversity. Zelnick said the company is increasing the applicant pool through scholarships, contributions to organizations providing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) opportunities to children in underserved communities, and offers interview training and counseling. career opportunities for young adults.

“In many cases, we also focus on young women. So we try to do the right thing from the top of the company, at the board level, to the management team, until the creation of a pool from which we can recruit. long-term. And even so, I’m sure we can do a lot more, ”Zelnick said.

Second question

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Above: Grand Theft Auto V is the best-selling game of the decade in the United States.

Image Credit: Rockstar Games

Another analyst asked how the company could redouble its efforts.

“Common decency is of paramount importance to everyone here. And more precisely, it is very important to me and this for 14 years that we exist. This is nothing new to us, “he said.” The culture of the company is well known and well known internally and reasonably well known externally. That said, there is always room for improvement. think we are known to be people who always want to do better and never want to rest on our laurels.

Zelnick said fostering the right environment is not a set of actions or a day in the news cycle.

“We think it’s a constant process of soul searching and improvement,” he said. “We will listen to our colleagues. And we will work in this area over time. But I want to be very specific because you asked the question about what we do here and what we have always done. The first one is, and I will say it as black and white as it gets. We will not tolerate harassment or discrimination, or bad behavior of any kind that we never have. We set those expectations when people engage here through our code of conduct and anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies, which our colleagues are all required to review and sign when they are hired.

He added, “All of our colleagues undergo anti-harassment training upon hire and every two years thereafter. And we make it clear through training and our policy that if someone encounters inappropriate contact there are multiple ways to report it and they will never be retaliated against for it.

He said there are options in the management chain to complain to anyone in HR or file an anonymous complaint over the phone or online through the third-party hotline and reports on the company’s website. . He said the company has a director of diversity and inclusion and his mission included developing a global diversity and inclusion strategy.

He said the company has several groups of employee resources within the company.

“Is there more we can do? I am sure of it. Do we feel like we’re in a good enough place? We are grateful to feel that right now. In terms of retention, our turnover rate is about half that of the industry. This has been true for about 18 months. There were times when this was around 70% of industry levels. [Turnover] has had a downward trend at a time when I think in general the turnover tends to increase. So we feel good about it. And that’s another measure of how well we’re doing.

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