Activision Blizzard is under increasing pressure from employees and shareholders to eliminate pay differences in the company. CEO Bobby Kotick has received $ 40 million in compensation last year, while Blizzard employees such as testers and customer service representatives are reported to have difficulty meeting basic needs Bloomberg.
In the company’s financial report for the second quarter of 2020, CEO Bobby Kotick said: “Our record commitment resulted in higher sales and earnings per share than previously forecast.”
Executives have used the word “record” to describe other positive periods in the company’s financial business. As in February 2019, when Kotick described the previous year as “the best in our history”, although Activision Blizzard fired 800 employees, mainly in non-development and non-managerial positions. After these layoffs, the remaining employees were not paid any additional wages for the additional work they are entitled to. Bloomberg reported.
An internal Blizzard poll in 2019 found that more than 50 percent of employees were unsatisfied with their pay. On Friday, Blizzard employees distributed a spreadsheet to anonymously track and compare salaries and recent increases. Bloomberg reported.
Kotick’s annual payout depends on the company’s stock performance. This feature has enabled him to make substantial sums of money even when Activision Blizzard has carried out mass layoffs. At the company’s annual general meeting, 43.2 percent of investors voted against the CEO’s remuneration policy. VentureBeat reported. A handful of shareholder activists have submitted letters objecting to Kotick’s compensation structure. In June, a pro-labor investment group called on shareholders to oppose Kotick’s pay package as well.
At Activision Blizzard’s quarterly investor conference today, Kotick and other executives repeated their statements of support for their employees and challenged their adaptability in the midst of a global pandemic that has changed personal priorities and business models alike. The pandemic has led to a significant period of growth for the video game industry, including Activision Blizzard. The company increased its net sales outlook for the year to $ 7.28 billion.
“The full extent of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, operations and financial results will depend on a number of evolving factors that we cannot currently fully predict and we continue to take into account the risks and uncertainties associated with global economic weakness , rising unemployment, pressure on the retail channel, pricing and other potential factors, ”says the company’s financial report.
Executives did not address wage differentials when calling investors today, and shareholders did not ask about them.