More than half of Activision Blizzard’s shareholders have backed Bobby Kotick’s chief executive to pay $ 155 million after a delayed vote that critics described as an attempt to avoid embarrassing criticism.
After the annual meeting scheduled for June 14, it was held by the video game company he interrupted the meeting until Monday to correct “misleading” information about Kotick’s 2020 salary. The delay led to criticism from the Board of Investors of Institutions, which represents large pension funds.
“With only 54 percent of the vote in favor, the proposal received almost no support from the majority. Activision seems to have given enough arms to overcome the measure,” said Michael Varner, CtW Investment Group’s director of executive salary research. .
The company was at risk of receiving only poor support for voting on the ballot after representatives from the Institutional Advisory Services of Representatives and Glass Lewis advised investors to vote against it.
“The additional time required by shareholders has allowed them to explore strict compensation practices to pay for Activision Blizzard’s performance,” a company spokesman said in a statement.
The company changed Kotick’s salary after receiving shareholder feedback – the 2019 salary package received support from 58% of shareholders. Activision reduced Kotick’s 2021 salary by 20 percent to $ 875,000 and included it in bonuses for 2021 and 2022.
By 2020, Kotick’s largest share of the $ 155 million package was in awards linked to its goal of doubling the company’s 2016 capitalization, and its shares rose last year amid the coronavirus pandemic. Strong stock returns typically anger investors with large-scale executive salaries, but Kotick’s large awards raised concerns.
Activision was under pressure from CtW and asked other shareholders to deny the company’s executive salary.
Glass Lewis said he knew he had no precedent for suspending the pay vote.
Investors typically pay for rubber stamp companies with votes of at least 90 percent support. This year, the S&P 500 companies received 88.6 percent support for executive salaries, according to salary advisor Semler Brossy.