Leadership changes under Microsoft as Bobby Kotick departure date confirmed | Pocket Gamer.biz

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick is officially stepping down on December 29th, concluding his 32-year run since entering the role in 1991.

Confirmation of his departure follows the vague “end of 2023” timeframe that was revealed in October. Currently, no one has been appointed to replace Kotick in this CEO role.

Estimates suggest that Kotick stands to pocket $14.4 million in severance pay.

Times are changing

Along with Kotick, The Verge reported that vice chairman of Blizzard and King Humam Sakhnini is leaving at the end of the month, while Activision Blizzard chief communications officer Lulu Meservey is due to depart in January.

But many members of the leadership team are expected to remain, including vice chairman Thomas Tippl, chief administrative officer Brian Bulatao, chief people officer Julie Hodges, chief legal officer Grant Dixton and chief financial officer Armin Zerza.

They will be supporting a transition period through March 2024 to align Activision Blizzard with Microsoft Gaming.

End of an era

October marked the confirmation of the games industry’s biggest-ever acquisition, with Microsoft finally completing its $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard. In the time since the acquisition, Xbox’s Matt Booty has been promoted to president of game content and studios, and he will now oversee Bethesda and Activision Blizzard too.

“Under Bobby’s watch, Activision Blizzard in its many incarnations has been an enduring pillar of video games,” said Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer in an internal memo.

“Whether it’s Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Candy Crush Saga or any number of other titles, his teams have created beloved franchises and entertained hundreds of millions of players for decades.

“I’d like to thank Bobby – for his invaluable contributions to this industry, his partnership in closing the Activision Blizzard acquisition and his collaboration following the close – and I wish him and his family the very best in his next chapter.”

And addressing his staff, Spencer clarified: “For most of you, your day-to-day work will remain the same – it’s still business as usual in bringing more groundbreaking experiences to more players around the world. At the leadership level, these changes will provide the clarity and accountability that is necessary to achieve our ambitious goals and foster a culture that is welcoming, empowering, and committed to Gaming for Everyone.

“We have an exciting 2024 lineup of games across Activision, Bethesda, Blizzard, King and Xbox Game Studios, and I know that we all look forward to sharing more details with our player communities when the time is right.”

Image credit: Steven Simko