Bobby Kotick, chief executive officer of Activision Blizzard in 2019
San Francisco (AFP) - The chief of Activision Blizzard, accused of mishandling harassment complaints at the video giant, has signaled he would consider stepping down if he cannot quickly fix company culture, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.
Bobby Kotick, who has led the company for three decades, told senior executives during a meeting on Friday that he could leave if the problems with misconduct aren’t solved “with speed,” the Journal reported, citing sources at Activision.
Activision Blizzard did not immediately respond to a request for comment from AFP.
The turmoil at the company comes in the wake of a Wall Street Journal report that Kotick has for years been looped into reports of abuse that included an allegation of rape, but did not share all that he knew with the board of directors.
After the report, more than 1,700 employees, or around 17 percent of the 10,000-member workforce, had signed a petition calling for Kotick to stand down, according to the Journal.
Some 150 workers staged a walkout at the California company, joined by colleagues who halted working remotely in solidarity, according to posts shared by an Activision Blizzard workers alliance account on Twitter. Walkouts are highly rare at American technology companies.
Kotick has defended himself, saying the report was misleading and that he was devoted to building an inclusive company.
“Anyone who doubts my conviction to be the most welcoming, inclusive workplace doesn’t really appreciate how important this is to me,” Kotick said in a statement Tuesday.
The company has faced increased scrutiny in recent months.
In July, California state regulators accused the creator of the blockbuster “Call of Duty” of condoning a culture of harassment, a toxic work environment, and inequality.