In recent weeks Activision Blizzard has submitted to its shareholders a document that each company submits annually to its board of directors: the say on pay. Its approval is crucial as it represents the investors' overall judgment of the management.
At first glance, Activision shareholders seem to be very happy with the company's performance. In fact, 96% of them voted in favor of the re-election of all managers. But there is one fact that sounds a familiar alarm bell. Only 54% of shareholders approved salaries of the upper echelons of society.
The one on the economic compensation of the management it is a long-standing controversy within Activision. Even last year this particular part of the say on pay received a narrow majority, only 57%.
The discontent manifested by this vote then led to a drastic reduction in the salary of Bobby Kotick, managing director of Activision, which saw its salary cut by 50%. The measure, however, does not seem to have been sufficient to calm the spirits in the board of directors. Leading the faction of critics is there the CtW investment fund.
Michael Varner, manager of the fund who had already defined the salary reduction of Kotick as mere smoke and mirrors, Activision again urged:
“We expect Activision to make further changes in response to the vote of 46% of its shareholders, who have expressed dissatisfaction. They can't rest on their laurels just because of the changes made to Mr. Kotick's salary. Furthermore, this is the sixth time in eight years that say on pay receives less than 70% of the votes in favor, and 2021 marked the lowest figure ever in the company's history. "
It may seem that CtW's claims are exaggerated, but they actually have a foundation as revealed by the Financial Times. Kotick's salary cut it is in fact paid to a remodeling in the way in which the chief executive officer is paid.
In fact, only the fixed part of his salary was halved, while the part linked to company objectives took on greater importance. Kotick, despite "only" earnings just under € 900.000 fixed year, would have recorded total revenue for over 155 million always coming from his activity as CEO Activision.
It is clear that many Activision Blizzard investors disagree with these figures, even given the unsuccessful moment the company is passing due to the pandemic. If the trends seen in recent years continue, in 2022, say on pay risks not being approved.