The saga of Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick’s pay continued this week as the company took the unusual step to delay its say-on-pay shareholder referendum that would see investors vote on Kotick’s compensation. Another meeting, scheduled for June 21, will specifically address this issue.
As Bloomberg reported, this measure drew scorn from CtW Investment Group, which has been crusading against Kotick’s outsized compensation for a year now, as well as targeting executive pay at Electronic Arts. Director Michael Varner called the move a “desperate attempt” to keep Kotick’s pay, saying:
“With 86% of shares already voted, it is doubtful that a significant number of shareholders wanted more time to consider the company’s executive pay practices.”
Activision Blizzard countered by calling most representations of Kotick’s compensation “misleading” and re-iterating that his base salary and cash bonus were reduced by 50%. Nevertheless, Activision Blizzard’s success in the past year meant that Kotick’s pay “ballooned in 2020, largely due to stock awards of nearly $150 million,” according to Bloomberg.
Activision Blizzard said the delay was so that investors could have “adequate time to review and consider the company’s recent responses” to statements regarding Kotick’s compensation. Considering how long such statements have been in the news, the delay feels more like a case of “working the phones” to get a few final holdouts that are against Kotick’s compensation to fall in line.