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Six state treasurers want Activision Blizzard to address its toxic workplace culture

They said they would 'weigh' a call to vote against the re-election of several board members.
Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard, speaks at the Reuters Global Media Summit in New York November 30, 2010.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS MEDIA)
Brendan McDermid / reuters
Igor Bonifacic
Igor Bonifacic|@igorbonifacic|December 1, 2021 3:36 PM

Following scrutiny from state and federal regulators, Activision Blizzard and its CEO Bobby Kotick now face pressure from an unexpected source. Per Axios, state treasurers from California, Massachusetts, Illinois, Oregon, Delaware and Nevada recently contacted the company’s board of directors to discuss its “response to the challenges and investment risk exposures that face Activision.” In a letter dated to November 23rd, the group tells the board it would “weigh” a “call to vote against the re-election of incumbent directors.”

That call was made on November 17th by a collection of activist shareholders known as Strategic Organizing Center Investment Group. SOC, which holds about 0.6 percent of Activision stock, has demanded Kotick resign and that two of the board’s longest-serving directors, Brian Kelly and Robert Morgado, retire by December 31st.

“We think there needs to be sweeping changes made in the company,” Illinois state treasurer Michael Frerichs told Axios. “We're concerned that the current CEO and board directors don't have the skillset, nor the conviction to institute these sweeping changes needed to transform their culture, to restore trust with employees and shareholders and their partners.”

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Between the six treasurers, they manage about a trillion dollars in assets. But as Axios points out, it’s unclear how much they have invested in Activision, and it’s not something they disclosed to the outlet. However, Frerichs did confirm Illinois has been impacted by the company’s falling stock price.

To that point, the day before The Wall Street Journal published its bombshell report on Activision and CEO Bobby Kotick, the company's stock closed at $70.43. The day California’s fair employment agency sued the company its stock was worth $91.88. As of the writing of this article, it’s trading at about $58.44.

The group has asked to meet with Activision’s board by December 20th. We’ve reached out to Activision for comment.

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