Activision Blizzard shareholders vote on a report of public harassment

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Activision Blizzard shareholders approved a proposal by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, requiring the company to report publicly on its efforts to end discrimination and harassment in the workplace during an annual meeting Tuesday. DiNapoli’s proposal, first launched in February, requires Activision Blizzard to share information, including compensation data, the company’s total number of sexual harassment agreements, its progress in speeding up the resolution of harassment and abuse complaints and general pending complaints. .

The majority of shareholders also approved the election of 10 directors on the board, though a minority of the shareholders who advocate against the re-election of directors, incl Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotik as well as longtime members Brian Kelly and Robert Morgado. Shareholders also voted in favor of approving the company’s executive directors’ compensation packages, with 88 percent voting in favor.

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DiNapoli, a state controller, told The Washington Post: “The majority vote is strong. Activision Blizzard needs to restore investor confidence and increase transparency on how it deals with harassment and discrimination in the workplace. We expect quick action from the company on our concerns.

Last Thursday, the video game company released an update stating that after an internal investigation, it found “no evidence to suggest that Activision Blizzard executives have ever ignored or attempted to downplay sexual harassment that has occurred and been reported.” It also said investigators found no evidence that a chief executive officer or employee had withheld information from the board of directors. The report confirms that there are “some justified cases of sexual harassment”, but exempts senior management and the board of directors from linking these incidents.

Proposal to nominate an employee representative to the Board of Directors – a request supported by organizing employees – it was rejected, with only 5% of the votes in favor. A recording was released at a shareholders’ meeting on Tuesday by an employee of Raven Software, owned by Activision, who wants an employee appointed to the board after being democratically voted by non-leadership. The employee asked to help the board to better understand the concerns of employees. Shareholders approved the hiring of PricewaterhouseCoopers as Activision’s accounting firm, with 96 percent voting yes. PricewaterhouseCoopers did not immediately request a comment.

The shareholders did not ask questions and the meeting ended in about 20 minutes.

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“From these voting results, it is clear to me that shareholders do not see the need to include any significant changes in the operating structure other than to cooperate with the NYS controller,” said Joost van Drunen, a lecturer in the gaming business at New York University Stern Business School. “The outright rejection of the admission of an employee representative on the board sends a signal that they are not ready for real change. The only chance for resolution [Activision’s] endemic problems will be after taking over the Microsoft book after the acquisition. This is a missed opportunity to lead from above. ”

On June 13, Microsoft, which acquired Activision Blizzard for nearly $ 69 billion in a deal pending regulatory approval, announced an agreement on labor neutrality with the Communications Workers of America union, which helps video game workers get organized. Activision Blizzard announced on Friday that it is in talks to negotiate with a group of quality assurance testers from Raven Software. These testers have spent months seeking recognition for their union, the Gaming Workers’ Alliance, which is supported by the CWA.

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