Activision Blizzard has announced that it is forming a “Workplace Responsibility Committee” to monitor the progress of recently announced policies, procedures and commitments to improve its workplace culture and eliminate all forms of harassment and discrimination in the company.
The Workplace Responsibility Committee will be chaired by the independent director Dawn Ostroff, who has been on the company’s board since 2020. The committee also includes Reveta Bowers, an independent director since 2018. In addition, the company is working to add a new diverse director to the board.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, Chief People Officer Julie Hodges and Chief Compliance Officer Frances Townsend will be required to provide progress reports to the committee, which will regularly brief the Board. In addition, the committee has the opportunity to hire external consultants and advisers, including an independent legal adviser, to assist in its work.
The company will also hire an Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinator (EEO) as part of its $ 18 million settlement with the EEOC, which is awaiting official court approval. Both the EEO Coordinator and an independent EEO Consultant will engage directly and regularly with Workplace Responsibility Responsibility to provide additional transparency.
ACTIVISION BLIZZARD CEO BOBBY KOTICK WOULD CONSIDER LEAVING IF HE CANNOT SOLVE PROBLEMS
Activision Blizzard’s board stressed that it is “committed to ensuring a healthy workplace where all employees feel valued, safe and respected”, and that the audit committee has been updated on the company’s development, including studies conducted by the Equal Opportunity Commission and the California Department of Fair. Employment and Housing, which filed a lawsuit against the company in July.
In October, the board began meeting every two weeks for in-depth assessments of the company’s plans and progress. The Board of Directors now receives detailed written weekly reports.
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“This has been a challenging time across the company, but the board is convinced of the actions that are being taken to enable the company to future success,” the board added.
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The formation of the committee follows allegations that Kotick knew of allegations of sexual abuse for years and did not inform the board. Kotick has also been accused by several women of inappropriate behavior both inside and outside the company, including an assistant who claimed he threatened to have her killed. Following the allegations, Activision Blizzard came out in defense of Kotick, and the board expressed their confidence in his management.
Over 28,000 employees have signed a petition calling for Kotick’s resignation. A group of shareholders has also written a letter urging Kotick, chairman Brian Kelly and senior executive director Robert Morgado to resign before the end of the year. Sources told the Wall Street Journal that Kotick has considered resigning if he can not quickly resolve the company’s problems.
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In addition to calls for resignation, directors from Nintendo, Xbox and PlayStation have all criticized Activision Blizzard’s response to the allegations. PlayStation boss Jim Ryan reportedly told his team that he has taken his hand out to ask how they plan to handle the allegations. Meanwhile, Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser said the company has “taken action and evaluated others,” and Xbox CEO Phil Spencer “evaluates all aspects of our relationship with Activision Blizzard and makes ongoing proactive adjustments.”
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“I personally have strong values for a welcoming and inclusive environment for all of our employees at Xbox,” Spencer told FOX Business. “This is not a destination, but a journey we will always be on. The management of Xbox and Microsoft stands by our teams and supports them in building a safer environment for all.”
Activision Blizzard told FOX Business that it respects all feedback from its partners and engages further with them.
“We have detailed key changes we have implemented in recent weeks and we will continue to do so,” the spokesman said. “We know it will take time, but we will not stop until we have the best workplace for our team.”