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Bobby Kotick exit date at Activision Blizzard announced

A reign of over three decades ends
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It’s official: Bobby Kotick’s last day at Activision Blizzard is going to be December 29, 2023, after which the CEO will leave the company he’s helmed for over three decades. The move had been announced shortly after Microsoft’s acquisition of the company was finalized and is part of many leadership changes resulting from that monumental merger.

Kotick will not be replaced by someone else. Instead, the responsibilities of overseeing Activision Blizzard King will fall to Matt Booty, the game content and studios president at Microsoft. He’ll be the one Blizzard president Mike Ybarra, a former Xbox executive himself, Activision publishing president Rob Kostich, and the other high-level leaders at the acquired company will report to.

Xbox and Activision Blizzard logos in white on top of a collage of game characters from Activision Blizzard games.

ABK's acquisition by Microsoft is leading to a big personnel shuffle at the top level.

Booty was already overseeing ZeniMax/Bethesda as well as the other Xbox studios from his new position, so he’s got an even larger burden to carry starting with Kotick’s departure.

While Microsoft is largely keeping Activision Blizzard’s current leadership intact, departures other than Kotick’s have already been announced. Activision Blizzard chief communications officer Lulu Meservey, who throughout the acquisition process made some pretty notorious statements and attacked Sony several times, is among those leaving at the end of January 2024. A larger group will follow her away from the company in March 2024.

Image: Bobby Kotick (l.) and Matt Booty (r.).

Xbox chief Phil Spencer paid tribute to Kotick in an internal memo (via The Verge): “Under Bobby’s watch, Activision Blizzard in its many incarnations has been an enduring pillar of video games. Whether it’s Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Candy Crush Saga or any number of other titles, his teams have created beloved franchises and entertained hundreds of millions of players for decades. I’d like to thank Bobby – for his invaluable contributions to this industry, his partnership in closing the Activision Blizzard acquisition and his collaboration following the close – and I wish him and his family the very best in his next chapter.”

Addressing the employees, Spencer wrote: “For most of you, your day-to-day work will remain the same – it’s still business as usual in bringing more groundbreaking experiences to more players around the world. At the leadership level, these changes will provide the clarity and accountability that is necessary to achieve our ambitious goals and foster a culture that is welcoming, empowering, and committed to Gaming for Everyone. We have an exciting 2024 lineup of games across Activision, Bethesda, Blizzard, King and Xbox Game Studios, and I know that we all look forward to sharing more details with our player communities when the time is right.”