Bobby Kotick is the CEO of the video game company Activision Blizzard. He credits Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple, for encouraging him to drop out of school to pursue his talents in computer software. Through several business ventures, Bobby studied how to manage the business, and in 2008 Bobby became the CEO of Activism Blizzard. By the end of 2021, different sources indicated he was worth $600 million. In this article, we shall examine how he rose to that status by examining his early life, career progression, and business activities.
How was Bobby Kotick's Early Life?
Bobby Kotick was born in 1963 in the U.S. He spent his early life in New York, where he demonstrated an interest in business at a tender age. In high school, he had business cards, running a rental business by bringing Manhattan clubs on off nights. Bobby attended the University of Michigan, where he studied Arts (History) in the early 1980s. While still at the university, together with his friend Howard Marks, they formed a company called Arktronics. They operated the company from their dorm room, where they developed software for the Apple II. On a later date, they met with a real estate developer named Steve Wynn, who invested $300,000 in the company. The company would play a significant role in shaping his future business career.
How Did Bobby Kotick Find Himself Where He is in His Career?
Together with his friend, they decided to drop out of school and focus on their software business. The decision was arrived at after they met Steve Jobs. He persuaded them to drop out of school and concentrate on software development. He would later buy a 25% stake in Activision in December 1990. At that time, Activision was almost bankrupt. Activision was initially called Mediagenic. Hurriedly, he became the CEO of Activision in February 1991. Between 1997 to 2003, the company had already developed nine studios. Activision released its first hit game in 1995. Being pushed by the urge to grow, in 2006, he started negotiating for the merging of the games section of Vivendi. The deal also included Sierra Entertainment and Blizzard Entertainment. The project succeeded, and he was able to oversee the creation of Activision Blizzard in 2008. In October 2016, Kotick announced that the company had created a professional esports league for video games called Overwatch. Before he announced the deal, his company had acquired the King and Major League Gaming.
How Much Does Bobby Kotick Earn as a CEO?
The VG247 reported that Kotick's was coming to an end in December 2021 but had been extended up to March 2023. After serving the company for over thirty years, Kotick agreed to take a pay cut by almost half. From the start of 2021, his salary dropped from $1.75 million to $875 000. However, his contract still gave him a chance to earn bonuses of about 200% based on his new salary. The decision to award him the bonus was vested in Blizzard's Compensation Committee, which only decided depending on the company's financial goals. He had the liberty to negotiate with the committee to determine whether he would be paid in cash or stocks. The bonus deals would still make him $1.75 million in a fiscal year.
What are other Sources of wealth for Bobby Kotick Other Than serving as a CEO?
Besides being the CEO of Activision, Kotick benefited a lot from selling the company to Microsoft for a deal worth $68.7 million. The deal occurred after employees demanded that he steps down after Activision Blizzard was wrecked by a series of scandals that had negatively impacted the company's public image. The Fortune reported that Kotick was going to get more than $500 million from the deal. He declared that he earned $14.4 million from early termination on the filings he made. He continued owning $4.3 million shares with an option to acquire more than $2.2 million.
How Does Bobby Kotick Spend His Money?
To understand his net worth, we should look at how Kotick spends his money. According to CNBC, Bobby Kotick had a limited company by the name Norgate LLC, which he used to contribute at least $500,000 to the Republican campaigns. He also used a whopping $11 million to buy his home in California in 2010. The home at Beverly Hills is located in the neighborhood of other top millionaires. In 2020, Bobby announced that he would donate $1 million to programs fighting systematic inequality. Together with his company, they targeted raising $4 million for the course. He also used a good chunk of his money to buy 700,000 shares in Coca-Cola, where he serves as a director.
Controversy Around the Life and Wealth of Bobby Kotick
Though termed as one of the most innovative CEOs in the modern technology industry, Bobby's career has been tainted with some controversies. In 2020, Blizzard's employees staged serious walkouts due to claims that there were wage discrepancies within the company. The employees quoted his salary as the main ground for their complaints. When confronted by the media over the employees' claims, Bobby further lied that employees were well enumerated and received promotions based on performance.
Several media houses fact-checked the company and found this was utterly wrong. In one of the most bizarre ways to control employees' wrath, he provided his phone number and email address to the employees so that those who felt dissatisfied to engage him directly. Bobby has been accused of engaging in unethical business practices as well. In 2009, he threatened to stop making PS3 games unless Sonny cut the console's price. He would encourage and promote small video game productions targeting his competitors.
Bobby Kotick is a classic example of how one can use talent to advance one's interests in a business. He also teaches us how education systems may not be the only way of archiving our goals. If we notice the talents of our children at early stages, we can tap the best out of them. In addition, there is a life lesson: if we put money before our employees' welfare, we will likely fail, as he did.
Written by Allen Lee
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