WAPO’s latest Bobby Kotick article lays bare his vindictive litigation history

Cackle cackle scheme sneer.

Rumor is, the secret final boss of Diablo IV will be a creature far more vile and Faustian than Diablo himself. And in a surely unrelated topic, the Washington Post has a piece up about how probably-on-his-way-out Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick made it this far in the industry without being taken out along the way.

The piece, written with an eye on Kotick’s leadership up through the ABK scandal of this past year, paints a nasty picture of both his personal and professional history. “[An] early enterprise — with Kotick blazing toward profits while leaving behind a trail of aggrieved employees — was a case study in his approach to business, which would become well known over the decades that followed,” it says.

WAPO notes that Kotick’s lawyers sent the publication a lengthy letter denouncing the investigation as an attempt to discredit him, but that didn’t stop the author. According to the paper, court records show he threatened lawyers, exposed undocumented workers, stiffed subordinates, had employees spied on, and sued an electronics company he said was causing his bathtub to fill randomly. He had to settle with shareholders who accused him of personally profiting from the Vivendi deal. And of course, you already knew about the the wrongful termination suit filed by his own flight attendant, which he settled, but then he tried to stiff his attorney, who then sued him and won in arbitration. He also reportedly lost his best friend over money.

So why does Kotick keep getting away with shady deals, ruthless moves, and employee neglect? In short, money. Kotick’s leadership consistently made his companies bucketfuls of cash, which earned him a lot of leeway with the board to act as he liked. If he leaves next year once the Microsoft sale closes, WAPO reports that Kotick will take $400 million in stock holdings with him.

It’s a good read if you want to feel scummy after reading it — or to stoke the fires of your dislike for Kotick even more that it may be.

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