Bobby Kotick will reportedly depart Activision Blizzard once the publisher's newly announced merger with Microsoft is finalized, but he will remain CEO of the company for the immediate future.
In its announcement of the Microsoft Activision purchase, the latter company repeatedly stressed that "Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard, and he and his team will maintain their focus on driving efforts to further strengthen the company's culture and accelerate business growth." However, it was also made clear that "once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer," CEO of Microsoft Gaming.
Microsoft supported this timeline in a statement to IGN (opens in new tab) but didn't explicitly specify whether Kotick will maintain his position after the deal's transition period.
However, the Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab) reports that, according to people familiar with the publisher's plans, Kotick "will depart once the deal closes." The deal is currently scheduled to close by the end of FY2023, concluding on June 30, 2023.
Deals like this come with a number of wide-ranging effects which can be tough to pin down at this stage, and as such many details legally cannot be disclosed. We've reached out to Microsoft for clarification regarding Activision Blizzard's leadership post-acquisition and will update our reporting if we receive a reply.
Kotick has become embroiled in the ongoing Activision Blizzard lawsuit, with a group of the studio's employees criticizing the CEO's response to the suit's allegations. A November report from the Wall Street Journal also claimed that Kotick previously intervened on behalf of a studio co-head accused of sexual harassment and, many years earlier, threatened a female assistant. This report sparked a walkout organized by many Activision Blizzard employees.
Activision staff react to the Xbox acquisition.