Microsoft has said it will be looking closely at Activision Blizzard leadership to ensure it makes “culture and workplace safety a top priority every single day,” and then it will take over and make the “same commitment.”
Speaking with CNBC (thanks, VGC)Microsoft president Brad Smith said the company wants to see the culture evolve at Activision Blizzard, and will “see how people perform” between now and when the deal to acquire the firm closes.
“I think if there’s one thing that we’ve learned about addressing issues like sexual harassment or almost any issue of culture for people, it really requires a combination of commitment and humility,” Smith said. “You’ve got to be committed to making things better.
“You know, we’re looking to the leadership team at Activision Blizzard today to make culture and workplace safety a top priority every single day, until the day when this deal hopefully closes. And then we’ll take over and we need to make that same commitment.
“But I also think humility matters. The day you think you’re done, the day that you think you can declare victory is probably the day when you sacrifice the very values that you’re hoping to promote.”
Smith also said regarding the current leadership team that while some aspects will change, it will be “one new team that will work together.”
“Most importantly, we want to see the culture evolve, and we will see how people perform between now and the day this closes, assuming it’s approved, and then we’ll have the opportunity to make sure that we have the right people in the right position.
When asked if some in management positions or other staff members were currently under scrutiny, Smith replied that he thinks “we all should live in a world where we’re under scrutiny.”
Speaking of management, it is currently unknown whether Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick will be sticking around for the long haul.
At one time, he did state he would step down if issues of sexual harassment, discrimination and wider cultural issues at the company weren’t “quickly fixed”. Kotick reportedly made the comment during a meeting with executives back in November.
When the $68.7 billion acquisition was announced, it was revealed that Kotick would maintain his position as Activision Blizzard CEO while he and his team continued to drive “efforts to further strengthen the company’s culture and accelerate business growth.” But, it was also said that once the ink dries, the Activision Blizzard business will report directly to former Xbox boss and now CEO of Microsoft Gaming, Phil Spencer.
According to Kotick himself, when the deal with Microsoft was announced, the embattled CEO said he would be “available as needed” to ensure everything goes smoothly. He declined to say whether or not he will maintain his position once the deal closes.
Many feel it’s highly likely that Kotick won’t stick around.