Activision Blizzard Shareholders Vote for Public Harassment Report

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Activision Blizzard shareholders have approved a proposal from New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli asking the company to publicly report on its efforts to end workplace discrimination and harassment during a annual meeting held on Tuesday. DiNapoli’s proposal, first presented in February, asked Activision Blizzard to share information, including compensation data, the company’s total number of sexual harassment settlements, its progress in resolving claims faster harassment and abuse complaints and the total number of pending complaints.

The vast majority of shareholders also approved the election of 10 directors to the board, despite a minority of shareholders opposing the re-election of directors, including embattled CEO Bobby Kotick as well as longtime members Brian Kelly and Robert Morgado. . Shareholders also voted to approve the company’s executive compensation packages, with 88% upvoting.

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DiNapoli, the state comptroller, told The Washington Post in a statement, “The shareholder majority vote spoke loudly. Activision Blizzard needs to restore investor confidence and increase transparency about how it handles harassment and discrimination in the workplace. We expect prompt action from the company on our concerns.

Last Thursday, the video game company posted an update saying that after an internal investigation, it found “no evidence to suggest that senior executives at Activision Blizzard ever intentionally ignored or attempted to downplay instances of gender-based harassment that occurred and were reported”. He also said investigators found no evidence that a senior executive or employee withheld information from the board. The report claimed that there were “a few confirmed cases of gender-based harassment”, but exonerated senior management and the board of directors of any association with these incidents.

A proposal to appoint an employee representative to the board – a request which was backed by the employees’ organization – was rejected, with only 5% of the vote in favour. At Tuesday’s shareholder meeting, a recording of an employee of Activision-owned Raven Software was played asking for an employee to be named to the board of directors after being democratically elected by non-members. leaders. The employee asked to help educate the board about employee concerns. Shareholders approved the hiring of PricewaterhouseCoopers as Activision’s accounting firm, with 96% affirmative votes. PricewaterhouseCoopers did not immediately return a request for comment.

The shareholders did not ask any questions and the meeting ended after approximately 20 minutes.

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“It’s clear from these voting results that shareholders see no need to make any significant changes to the operating structure, other than working with the NYS Comptroller,” said Joost van Dreunen, speaker on trading in games at New York University’s Stern School of Business. “The outright refusal to allow an employee representative to sit on the board sends a signal that they are not ready for real change. The only chance to solve [Activision’s] endemic issues will be once he assumes Microsoft’s post-acquisition playbook. This is a missed opportunity to lead from the top.

On June 13, Microsoft, which is acquiring Activision Blizzard for nearly $69 billion in a deal pending regulatory approval, announced a labor neutrality agreement with the Communications Workers of America union, which helps video game workers to organize. Activision Blizzard announced Friday that it is entering negotiations with a group of quality assurance testers from Raven Software. These testers have spent months demanding recognition from their union, the Game Workers Alliance, which is supported by the CWA.


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