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Activision shareholders think CEO Bobby Kotick is paid too much

A number of Activision Blizzard shareholders have expressed concerns over CEO Bobby Kotick's big compensation package.

In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), two proxy voting advisory firms, represented by the CtW Investment Group, have advised share holders to vote against giving Activision complete say over how much CEO Bobby Kotick is paid.

In fact, the investment group has consistently asked for this, but seemingly never managed to get enough votes. Activision will hold its annual shareholders meeting on June 11, where management will preview the Say On Pay proposal.

The filing says Kotick has received "over $20 million in combined stock/option equity" per year over the past four years, which they say is the largest for any CEO in a similar company.

"Despite repeated low approval votes from shareholders, Activision Blizzard maintains multiple, overlapping opportunities for its CEO to earn outsize equity awards, even when performance-related vesting thresholds have not been met," it reads.

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"While equity grants that exceed the total pay of peer companies would be objectionable in most circumstances, it is of special concern in this case because Activision Blizzard employees face job insecurity following layoffs of 800 employees in 2019, and typically earn less than one-third of 1% of the CEO’s earnings, with some employees, such as junior developers, making less than $40,000 a year while living in high-cost areas such as southern California."

Activision defended Kotick's compensation package in a statement to Gamespot, arguing that Activision Blizzard's market value has ballooned under Kotick.

"During Mr. Kotick's tenure - which is the longest of any CEO of a public technology company--Activision Blizzard’s market capitalization has increased from less than $10 million to over $53 billion dollars," it reads.

"In the last five years, Activision Blizzard's share price has outperformed the S&P 500 by more than 120% and over the past 20 years, under Mr. Kotick’s leadership, Activision Blizzard’s share price has outperformed the S&P 500 by over 11,000%."

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