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Bobby Kotick to leave Activision Blizzard next week

Kotick's tenure at Activision Blizzard saw it become one of video games' biggest publishers, alongside a slew of controversies.

Justin Carter

December 20, 2023

2 Min Read
Headshot of Activision Blizzard boss Bobby Kotick.
Image via Activision Blizzard.

At a Glance

  • Bobby Kotick's 32-year (and controversial) reign as Activision Blizzard's CEO will come to an end on December 29.

Bobby Kotick, the long-running CEO of Activision Blizzard, will officially depart the company next week on December 29.

Per The Verge, he'll step down from his position, and a direct successor won't be appointed. Instead, the executives that reportedly directly to him like Mike Ybarra and Rob Kostich will fall under the purview of Microsoft's game content and studios president Matt Booty.

The change comes a handful of months after Microsoft folded Kotick and ZeniMax leadership into Xbox's own leadership team. However, his exit was confirmed months prior: back in October, Phil Spencer said Kotick would stay with the Call of Duty publisher until year's end.

Bobby Kotick and CCO Lulu Meservey both leaving Activision Blizzard

Along with Kotick, CCO Lulu Meservey is expected to depart at the end of January 2024. Blizzard/King VP Humam Sakhnini will exit next week as well, and other unnamed Activision Blizzard executives will be gone by March 2024.

Kotick became Activision's CEO all the way in 1991. During his tenure, he led the company to acquire Vivendi, King, and Major League Gaming. In 2008, the company acquired World of Warcraft creator Blizzard Entertainment, turning it into the company as it exists today.

In late 2021, Kotick was accused of sexual harassment and enabling a culture of toxicity within the larger company (and Blizzard specifically) for years.

He later called those allegations "inaccurate," and claimed the specific report on him ignored Activision Blizzard's then-sweep of changes, including a zero tolerance policy for harassment.

As Microsoft was gearing up to acquire Activision Blizzard (months after Spencer called those allegations "disturbing"), questions were raised about what to do with Kotick. As it turned out, unjust firing would've cost $15 million the company likely didn't want to spend.

For the most part, Kotick minded his own business during the acquisition process. When he did make himself known, it was to berate regulators (and Sony for trying to block the deal.

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About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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