Activision Shareholders Against Board of Directors on Misconduct Report
In a rare move against the wishes of the Board of Directors, shareholders voted in favor of a proposal requiring Activision Blizzard to prepare a public annual report quantifying their efforts to prevent abuse, harassment, and discrimination of employees. Although the Board previous
advised stockholders to vote against the proposal
, indicating that it would be wasteful to spend time and money preparing the report,
that the proposal was passed at today's annual shareholder meeting.
Activision Blizzard Notice of 2022 Annual Meeting
The Board recommends that you vote “Against” this proposal. While the Board appreciates hearing the perspectives of our shareholders, we do not believe this proposal is in the best interests of the Company or its shareholders.
We as a Company are deeply committed to preventing all forms of abuse, harassment, and discrimination and creating a safe and welcoming workplace for all members of our community. We believe, however, that preparation of the proposed report is not the best way to achieve these goals, for these reasons:
• First, the Board believes that, rather than diverting energy and resources toward creating yet another report, we should continue to directly respond to employee concerns. Focusing all our attention on these concerns is the best way quickly and effectively to create genuine change in our workplace.
• Second, the proposed report itself, even if completed after significant time and expense, would create a set of metrics that are simply not the best measures of how the Company is responding to employee concerns. The Board is committed to measuring the speed and effectiveness of our changes accurately, not based on metrics that are not precisely tailored to our Company’s situation.
As such, the Company is of the view that continuing to focus its efforts on responding directly to employee concerns and continuing to implement workplace improvements is the best path forward.
Proposed this past February
by the New York State Common Retirement Fund, the issue was brought up in response to the ongoing investigation and lawsuit by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. With the stated intent of helping shareholders determine whether Activision Blizzard was doing enough to improve its policies and management, the report would require the Board of Directors to prepare an annual report quantifying their efforts to prevent abuse, harassment, and discrimination against employees, to include:
the total dollar amount spent on abuse, harassment, or discrimination settlements over the last three years,
the company’s progress toward reducing the average length of time it takes to resolve those complaints,
the total number of pending complaints,
and the pay and hours worked consolidated data required by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (Department).
Though despite voting against the Board on that particular issue, shareholders followed recommendations on the rest of the proposals, showing at least some loyalty to the current Board of Directors, approving their compensation, retaining the current public accounting firm, and voting against the addition of an employee representative director. The additional director was proposed by the ALF-CIO, intending to allow non-management employees to elect their own representative to serve of the Board of Directors in order to facilitate communication between the two bodies and give employees a voice in their governance, though the
Washington Post reports
that vote failed to garner much support, with only 5% of shareholders in favor of the issue.
Although shareholders went against the Boards wishes by voting for Proposal 5, they followed the the board's recommendations for Proposals 1-4.
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