Activision’s Kotick signed incentive-based deal in 2012, spreads out compensation over five years

Saturday, 27th April 2013 14:54 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Activision-Blizzard CEO and president Bobby Kotick, increased his compensation “almost eightfold” to the tune of a whopping $64.9 million last year, according to an SEC filing broken down by Bloomberg.

The majority of this insane amount of wealth came via stock awards worth $55.9 million which will be stretched over five years.

Back in 2009, Kotick dropped another 1.68 million in Activision shares, brought in $17 million, and he grabbed $20 million from a three-day stock-sell over the release of Modern Warfare 2 which brought his 9-day profits to $37 million.

Kotick, 50, earned $8.33 million in total compensation last year, and this puts him at number two among public US company CEOs for 2012 – once the compensation package is figured in as $8 million is nothing compared to other US CEOs, according to a list compiled by CNN Money.

With Bloomberg factoring in the five-year compensation benefit, this would put Kotick behind Oracle Corp. founder Larry Ellison.

Ellison earned $96.2 million in wages, options and other extra nuggets to add to his pile of gold. I wonder if Ellison has a dragon guarding his hoard.

Also, should Kotick meet Activision’s “highest performance targets,” he will receive another $16 million.

“We don’t like any element of this pay package,” Nell Minow, a corporate-governance consultant and frequent critic of executive pay told Bloomberg. “In the past we have expressed concern about this company and its compensation practices.”

Kotick’s base salary and incentive packages are one of the highest in the games sector, Minow added.

Bloomberg gleaned this information from an SEC filing yesterday, in which Activision noted Kotick had exceeded goals on operating income and ticked all the boxes on cash flow etc.

“The bulk of the increase for Kotick came in stock awards valued at $55.9 million, based on regulatory reporting rules, that were tied to a new employment agreement signed in March 2012, according to a filing yesterday by the video-game software company,” said Bloomberg. “While vesting stretches over five years, the awards are reported in the year of the grant.

“Kotick, 50, received $8.33 million in total compensation last year, filings show.”

His base salary in 2012 was $2.01 million, and he earned a $2.5 million bonus and other pay of $4.52 million plus the stock award noted above.

Activision currently has a market value of $16.5 billion, and last posted net income of $1.15 billion.

The firm will report its Q1 FY2013 earnings on May 8, and as noted above, Kotick’s new compensation package will be included in the figures.



  1. The_Red

    I find it really interesting how calmly and smartly Activision managed to deflect most of the hate surrounding them a few years go, made Kotick shut up (Instead of keeping his mouth open with controversial comments) and now, everyone at Acti is reaping the benefits:

    - The general hate is focused on EA.
    - Their CEO is no longer under forum attack or being ridiculed.
    - They have a new mega-franchise that is NOT free-2-play or MMO or co-op shooter. It’s a freaking 3D platformer with toys.
    - They have Destiny from Bungie.

    Now look at EA:
    - CEO was forced to resign.
    - Worst company in US winner for 2 years in a row.
    - Dead Space? Dead. Medal of Honor? Dead. SimCity? Recently ruined. Mobile and social games? Closed. + Massive layoffs.
    - They have Fuse…

    #1 2 years ago

    And people wonder why there are so many shooters…

    Never mind. Easy come, easy go.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Erthazus

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Lengendaryboss

    That is true as much as i hate Activision, they managed to take a formerly exclusive developer and make a game (Potential Franchise) on a variety of platforms PS4. PS3, Xbox360/720 and other rumoured platforms and its looks interesting and on the other hand we have Insomniac Games who have made amazing games and was (maybe) formerly an exclusive developer produce a game that has so much hatred towards it and smells like a flop.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. diego-rbb-93

    1# What a true man. Kotick can still be the target of lot of jokes, but I havent heard some from anyone long time ago. Activision has managed to make people forget jokes like 10$ maps on MW2 or poor innovation inside COD franchise or even Spyro´s death (Just like Rayman killed by Rabbits, Spyro has been raped by Skylanders).

    BUT… What is a shame, is that nobody inside Activision came and explained WTF Declassified Ops was meant to be (Sony, this include you too). All shit fell over Nihilistic Software but nobody answered WTF happened to this piece of shit.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. DSB

    @1 What I find interesting is how they’re running it all on a select few megafranchises while otherwise just pumping out licensed garbage.

    Activision would have been a very different company without WoW, and they actually beat EA to the punch by fucking up Diablo 3. They made more money doing it than EA, but the brand will suffer for it just the same.

    @5 While EA has been coming out against things like sales, railing against their customers for not loving them and their dollar schemes enough, and supporting bills like SOPA and PIPA. Pretty serious difference in PR strategy there.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Lengendaryboss

    How does a third party exclusive game for PS Vita owned by Activision Developed by Nihilistic Software have anything remotely to do with Sony? (Besides Sony giving Dev kits and anything else they do for any other third party publisher)

    #7 2 years ago
  8. theevilaires

    Kotick knows how to play the game. Can’t hate him for that but damn would I like to be working beside him one day to learn his tricks and trade of the biz.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Night Hunter

    From a business perspective: He really earned it! Acti makes a ridiculous amount of money.

    From a gamer perspective: BURN IN HELL!

    #9 2 years ago
  10. xxJPRACERxx

    #8 “would I like to be working beside him one day to learn his tricks and trade of the biz”

    Easy, you just have to be an asshole!

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Shuklar

    I know that you’re suppose to hate the game, and not the player, yet there’s something extremely sociopathic to even consider you’re contributions are worth that much, let alone actually accepting it.

    Hope some Russian whore takes him for all he’s worth.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Lengendaryboss

    Thats a bit dark isn’t it, i know he is seen as for better word the devil but really?

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Stephany Nunneley

    Most CEOs of large corporations make tons of money if they continue to do well for the investors. It’s no different than any employee getting a raise, only on a much larger scale. This is with any company, not just Activision.

    Disney, Viacom, eBay, Starbucks, Phillip Morris. The list goes on and on. The only difference is (with the exception of Disney of late) these companies don’t make games, so their customers base is less vocal.

    I’m sure if you looked into each one (no need on Phillip Morris – we know all about that one) you’ll find just as many people upset over something – yet people still buy Starbucks, smoke, use eBay and watch one of Viacom’s 170 networks.

    Personally, I don’t have an issue with this sort of thing, unless it’s a company which goes out of its way to screw the customer – like credit card companies, certain banks, and don’t even get me started on the IRS -which is an “evil corporation” even if run by the government. :p

    #13 2 years ago
  14. aleph31

    @8 –

    @Steph I think that CEOs in general are way overpaid, imho their contributions to their respective companies are not really any kind of secret magic that only one every one million person can accomplish. They just abuse their position of power and visibility, and the people who make the real products are buried at the end of the chain.

    That’s the difference in this world between being intelligent and being “smart”. The money always goes to the latter.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Stephany Nunneley

    “being intelligent and being “smart”. The money always goes to the latter.”

    I know about that all too well, having worked in a few office jobs over the years. Although I can’t say I found those who rose higher in the ranks were “smart” in the brain power sense, more like they played the game better. :(

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Shuklar

    @12 Well, if he’s the devil of the industry, it’s only fitting that he’s a sociopath, yeah?

    And sure, Activision has donated some money to a few organizations, yet at this point, it’s like going into a strip club and flicking pennies at the stripper’s twat.

    *picked up by bouncer*
    “What’s the deal here!? I’m tipping her, aren’t I?”

    It pales in comparison to the money they could have been donating or actively investing in improving their creative profile. This year’s bonus alone for Kotick is probably more money they’ve donated to outside sources in the entire organization’s history.

    Just because you have the opportunity to make it big time, doesn’t mean you should throw your morals out the window and just accept it. Of course, I’m presuming the douche had morals to begin with.

    I’ve happily been boycotting them for years now, and I was saddened that Blizzard’s success with WoW required them to seek out the parasitic being of Activision to manage the success. It’s such a paradox that one of the best developers in the business had to team up with such low life scum.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. aleph31

    @15 yeah maybe I didn’t explain myself well. By “smart” I mean “astute”, and they are the ones who always win The Game (and therefore the ones who get the money). The intelligent ala Kant / Einstein (ie the artists, engineers, designers, writers etc. in case of video games) have no place in this XXI world, they may aspire to get a good salary at maximum. Seven figures upwards go to the smart / astute only.

    Of course I’m talking in broad terms, and everyone will be able to point to exceptions. For instance some engineers may fund a studio and get rich etc. but they are the small portion that are astute and intelligent at the same time (and the money then comes from their astute portion xD).

    #17 2 years ago
  18. GrimRita

    I think this just proves that gamers arent fussy just how bad a product is and still buy it, complain about it, buy the dlc, complain about it.

    With EA, I wonder if gamers are on some kind of boycott? I am – I refuse point blank to download their spyware thus missing out on Battlefield 3 and probably future games.

    Activision hasnt really followed the same path of greed like EA have – withdrawning their shit from Steam, forcing their spyware on gamers. If you wanna play our game you MUST download our own store – the list is endless.

    Both deserve to rot in hell imo

    #18 2 years ago
  19. ps3fanboy

    the gamers that buy bad games have nothing other than them self to blame…

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Gheritt White

    Disgusting, especially when you consider the recent layoffs and under-funding at High Moon Studios.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. YoungZer0

    @20: Yup. That’s the world we live in.

    #21 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.