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During today’s investor call, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick pledged change will come at the end of the day. publisher in difficulty. However, he and other executives did not respond to specific employee requests and concerns.
The company has been under fire from critics since The State of California has announced that it is suing the publisher for sex discrimination. Since then, employees have organized a walkout and posted four demands in an open letter: the end of mandatory arbitration clauses in all employee contracts; adopting recruitment, interviewing, hiring and promotion policies designed to improve representation among all employees; publication of data on relative compensation; and a task force responsible for hiring a third party to audit the hierarchical structure, the human resources department and the management staff of the company.
Activision Blizzard hired the law firm WilmerHale to perform an internal review of the company. A new coalition of Activision Blizzard employees, the ABK Workers Alliance, criticized the choice of this firm in a letter to Kotick today. ABK Workers Alliance noted that “WilmerHale’s pre-existing relationship with Activision Blizzard and its leaders creates an unacceptable conflict of interest” and that “WilmerHale has a habit of discouraging workers’ rights and collective action.” This is based on the company’s past involvement with Amazon and Uber.
The call did not address that concern, with Kotick instead touting the hiring of WilmerHale as an example of how the company was responding to the situation.
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Kotick also notes today’s change in leadership at Blizzard, which saw J. Allen Brack as Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra to intervene. The CEO also says the company will fire any manager or executive who obstructed the process to review harassment allegations.
It was a call to investors, and most analysts focused on financial concerns. Even still, it was a chance for Activision Blizzard’s senior executives to face questions. Unfortunately, none of the analysts’ queries were of the difficult kind the company needs to answer. None addressed Kotick’s responsibility for the allegations.
Many of the questions were not about the situation at all, but rather focused on financial issues such as user acquisition for King and mobile advertising. Asked about Blizzard’s morale and its potential impact on game development, Oneal replied, “When our employees feel safe and supported, the rest will take care of themselves.
This is a call to investors, so we weren’t expecting a calculation or a grid. But it looks like Activision Blizzard got off easily with just two questions focused on the California trial.
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