Six state treasurers push for change over Activision Blizzard misconduct

The treasurers of California, Massachusetts, Illinois, Oregon, Delaware and Nevada are not happy with the company.

Activision Blizzard's continued fumbling of allegations of an alleged culture of toxicity, sexual harassment, abuse, and discrimination has attracted the ire of six state treasurers. Now those treasurers are calling for a meeting with Activision Blizzard, and saying they might use their states' investments in the company to leverage a vote to oust the board of directors.

This news comes via Axios, which obtained a copy of a letter sent to Activision Blizzard. Some of the treasurers spoke on the record, expressing their displeasure with how Activision Blizzard and its board have responded to the revelations of the last few months. 

Illinois state treasurer Michael Frerichs told Axios that the group thinks that there need to be "sweeping changes made in the company," and that they are "concerned that the current CEO and board directors don't have the skillset, nor the conviction to institute these sweeping changes needed to transform their culture, to restore trust with employees and shareholders and their partners."

Massachusetts treasurer Deborah Goldberg levied particularly sharp criticism against the board of directors, expressing exasperation over their recent decision to publicly back CEO Bobby Kotick even after a report emerged that he allegedly threatened an assistant and protected a studio head accused of sexual harassment. 

She also called for a "true, outside investigation" of the company and its practices

These six treasurers declined to share how much Activision stock their states have invested in, but their pressure carries a lot of weight. For one, it shows that the activist investor group who previously called for Kotick's removal isn't alone in their sentiment, and that the company's sloppy handling of these allegations is having an impact on investment portfolios.

It also shows that there are groups who stand to keep pressure on Activision Blizzard's CEO and board of directors if they continue to slow-walk any real change, even if activist employees seek greener pastures.

We've reached out to Activision Blizzard and will update this story when they respond.

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