Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has agreed to lower both his base salary and target annual bonus by 50 percent.
According to filings shared by the company this week, Kotick's base salary will be reduced from $1.75 million to $875,000 for both fiscal 2021 and 2022. His yearly bonuses cap out at 200 percent of his salary, so depending on if certain targets are met those reduced bonuses could add up to $1.75 million to his yearly pay.
That filing notes that the reduction brings Kotick's compensation more in line with other CEOs in the game industry, and also slightly closes the significant gap between his pay and the average pay of a developer at Activision Blizzard.
Back in 2019, that a CEO pay report named Kotick (alongside EA CEO Andrew Wilson) as one of the 100 "most overpaid CEOs," due in part to the fact that Kotick earned, at the time, 301 percent more than the median Activision Blizzard staff member.
Kotick has taken pay cuts since then, notably trimming 15 percent off his base salary in 2020 as noted in the filing. However, the 2021 edition of that report now names Kotick as the 16th most overpaid CEO despite that change. Based on its data, Kotick made over $30 million in 2020, more than 319 percent the median Activision Blizzard employee, with 28 percent of the board voting against his compensation package.
Some shareholders in Activision Blizzard have been rallying for Kotick to reduce his pay for years, including a 2020 filing (via Kotaku) where one investment group questioned why Kotick was given "multiple bites at the apple" through base pay, bonuses, and millions in stock options. (Kotick has, for several years, received over $20 million in stock options per year.)
His reign at Activision Blizzard has also overlapped with several significant rounds of layoffs over the past several years, layoffs that came amid quarters of sometimes record financial success for the company as a whole.
While Kotick's recent 50 percent salary reduction is described as something the CEO is doing voluntarily, the SEC filing notes that the decision is in no small part driven by feedback from the board of directors and major investors in the company that wish to ensure Kotick's pay "reflects shareholder feedback, incorporates market best practices, and continues to directly connect pay to performance."