Corporate accountability and union pension fund advocacy organization CtW Investment Group claims that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick will receive a nearly $200 million bonus for the company’s strong stock performance throughout 2020, according to a new report from Kotaku.
This comes on the heels of Activision Blizzard announcing a round of layoffs yesterday that mainly affected the esports division as it begins to restructure itself to focus on online competition.
Kotick is no stranger to million-dollar stock bonuses, though, after receiving more than $20 million in stock and option equity per year over the last four years.
Last June, shareholders actively campaigned among themselves to block another set of bonuses for the CEO, saying that Kotick is “paid disproportionately to other employees and fellow CEOs from other companies”
Activision Blizzard saw massive success throughout 2020 despite struggling early on the esports front during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company’s stock hit a peak of over $102 per share over the last two months and is now sitting at $92.26, up from around $56 a year ago.
With that jump, CtW said that Kotick will be eligible to claim multiple stock-related incentive bonuses, along with millions from the “shareholder value creation incentive” clause in his contract.
“While the increase in Activision’s stock price is somewhat commendable, as we stated last year and continue to assert, this achievement alone does not justify such a substantial pay outcome for the CEO,” CtW Investment Group researcher Michael Varner said.
Varner followed that up by claiming Activision Blizzard is “retroactively awarding Kotick gold medals for his past performance based on the latest stock price.” This is due to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing for Kotick’s performance noting “awards were achieved at the maximum level.”
Bloomberg has confirmed that most of the employees who were affected by the esports layoffs have been given healthcare benefits through 2021 as part of a severance package, along with $200 gift cards to Battle.net.
The total number of laid-off employees exceeded the initial estimate of 50 and is reportedly closer to 190. Activision Blizzard layoffs affected more than 800 people in 2019, the company closed its French office last year, and now the number continues to climb while the CEO rakes in millions in bonuses.