Microsoft, who completed its acquisition of the publisher in October, shared the news via an internal memo on Wednesday.
Kotick sent the following email to employees:
Over the years, my passion for video games has often been attributed to Pitfall!, River Raid, and Kaboom!. I love those Atari 2600 games, but the game that first captured my imagination was Mystery House, developed by Roberta and Ken Williams. I played it on a borrowed Apple II night after night while in college at the University of Michigan.
Mystery House was a text adventure with some primitive sprite-based graphics. (Fittingly, we now own Mystery House and the company that published it, Sierra On Line.) The world in which the game was played was largely left to the player’s imagination. I envisioned rich, vast worlds with all sorts of interactive, animated life that would enable players to fulfill their varied aspirations—all in a simulated universe that offered unlimited possibilities for challenge, connection, and fun.
Forty years later, as my last day leading this company inches closer, I marvel at how far the talented people at our company have come toward realizing the great potential of games. You have transformed a hobbyist form of entertainment into the world’s most engaging medium. It has been the privilege of my lifetime to work alongside you as we broadened the appeal of games.
Perhaps the most important part of my job has been to help bring talented people together, provide the best resources possible, and foster an environment that encourages inspiration, creativity, and unwavering commitment to excellence.
I cannot adequately express the pride I have in the people who continue to contribute to our success and all those who have helped throughout my 32 years leading this company.
We are now part of the world’s most admired company. That isn’t an accident.
Phil Spencer has appreciated the magic of ABK for decades. When he approached Brian and me two years ago and proposed acquiring the company, it was immediately obvious that the combination of our businesses would enable us to continue to lead as the list of capable, well-resourced competitors grows.
Phil shares our values and recognizes our talents. He is passionate about our games and the people who make them. He has bold ambition.
As we move into our next exciting chapter, you could not be in better hands.
I will always be profoundly grateful to the people who contributed tirelessly to building this company and I am confident you will keep inspiring joy and uniting people through the power of play.
With gratitude and appreciation,
Phil Spencer added in his own internal email to staff, 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.
With Bobby’s impending departure, we are taking the next step in aligning Activision Blizzard with Microsoft Gaming, by making the following organizational changes:
Thomas Tippl (Vice Chairman, Activision Blizzard), Rob Kostich (President, Activision Publishing), Mike Ybarra (President, Blizzard Entertainment) and Tjodolf Sommestad (President, King) will report to Matt Booty (President, Game Content and Studios). The leadership teams for Activision Publishing, Blizzard and King will remain in place, with no changes to the structure of how the studios and business units are run.
Brian Bulatao (Chief Administrative Officer) will report to Dave McCarthy (Chief Operations Officer, Microsoft Gaming).
Julie Hodges (Chief People Officer) will report to Cynthia Per-Lee (Corporate Vice President, Gaming Human Resources).
Grant Dixton (Chief Legal Officer) will report to Linda Norman (Corporate Vice President, Gaming CELA).
Armin Zerza (Chief Financial Officer) will continue to report to Tim Stuart (Corporate Vice President, Finance), as we previously announced to the Finance team in October.
Thomas, Brian, Julie, Grant and Armin will continue to help us with the transition through March 2024.
Lulu Meservey (Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Chief Communications Officer) will be leaving ABK at the end of January. She has agreed to support Kari Perez (General Manager, Communications) on a leadership transition plan for the ABK Communications team, which will report to Kari.
Additionally, Humam Sakhnini (Vice Chairman, Blizzard and King) will depart at the end of December. We thank Humam and Lulu for their leadership over the past year.
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.