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SOC Investment Group expresses scepticism on Activision Blizzard’s settlement with EEOC

on Sep 28, 2021
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  • Activision Blizzard struck an $18 million settlement with the U.S. EEOC on Monday.
  • SOC Investment Group's Dieter Waizenegger commented on the settlement today.
  • Shares of the video game publisher are down more than 25% on a year-to-date basis.

Activision Blizzard Inc (NASDAQ: ATVI) struck an $18 million settlement with the U.S. EEOC on Monday over allegations of unfair labour practices. The video game publisher behind world-renowned names like Call of Duty was alleged of sexual harassment and discrimination against female employees.

Dieter Waizenegger’s comment on the settlement

Following the settlement, however, SOC Investment Group’s executive director Dieter Waizenegger says the settlement left shareholders with many questions. In his statement, he noted:

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We believe that retaining an external ‘equal opportunity’ consultant subject to EEOC approval and committing to hire an internal equal opportunity officer are potential steps forward, but until qualified people fill these positions, it is unclear how they will be empowered to help Activision Blizzard change its toxic workplace culture.

Waizenegger says the toxic workplace at Activision Blizzard speaks to the failure of its board and urges the company to appoint new leadership to address the “systemic issues” and regain the confidence of its shareholders.  

Activision Blizzard should penalise executives

Waizenegger also urges the company to skip bonus payments to executives this year and charge a penalty on executives found involved in abusive practices. He added:

We urge the board and executives to consult with employees about new policies to reverse toxic workplace culture, a critical component of the success of any such program.

Activision Blizzard is down more than 25% in the stock market from its year-to-date high in mid-February, but Morgan Stanley said last month that its shares could climb by at least 45% in the next twelve months.