Activision Blizzard CEO’s $ 155 million pay package was approved after the delay

Just over half of Activision Blizzard’s shareholders supported the $ 155 million pay package of chief executive Bobby Kotick, after a delayed vote that critics described as an effort to avoid an embarrassing reprimand.

After holding its annual meeting scheduled for June 14, the video game company had postponed to meeting until Monday to address “misleading” information about Kotick’s 2020 paycheck. The delay has drawn criticism from the Institutional Investors Council, which represents large pension funds.

“With only 54 per cent of the votes in favor, the proposal has barely been able to receive majority support – it looks like Activision has barely done its best to pass the measure,” said Michael Varner, director of pay research. executive in CtW Investment Group.

The company was in danger of receiving only little support for the pay vote after proxy advisors Institutional Services for Shareholders and Glass Lewis advised investors to vote against it.

“The additional time required by shareholders has allowed them to thoroughly review the facts on rigorous payment compensation practices for Activision Blizzard benefits,” a company spokeswoman said in a statement.

The company changed Kotick’s paycheck after feedback from shareholders – its 2019 payroll package received support from 58 percent of shareholders. Activision has cut Kotick’s 2021 salary by 50 percent to $ 875,000 and has reduced bonuses for 2021 and 2022.

Most of Kotick’s $ 155 million package for 2020 was in awards linked to a 2016 goal of doubling the company’s market capitalization, and its shares rose last year amid the pandemic. of coronavirus. A strong show of action typically appeases investors shocked by excessive executive pay, but Kotick’s large rewards have raised concerns.

Activision was pressured by CtW, which urged other shareholders to refuse the company’s executive pay.

Glass Lewis said he knew of no precedent for such a move to postpone a vote saying pay.

Investors typically pay the votes of rubber stamp companies with at least 90 percent support. So far this year, S&P 500 companies have received 88.6 percent support for executive pay, according to Semler Brossy, a payroll consultancy.

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