Microsoft announces Xbox leadership changes after Bobby Kotick leaves Activision Blizzard

Bobby Kotick, the CEO of Activision Blizzard, formally resigns on December 29th.

Microsoft hasn’t named a direct replacement but has incorporated Activision Blizzard executives under Matt Booty, Microsoft’s game content and studios president. Kotick’s departure comes just two months after major changes in Xbox leadership. Sarah Bond became Xbox president for platform and hardware, while Matt Booty took charge of game content and studios, including Bethesda and ZeniMax. Now, Booty has even more responsibilities, overseeing Bethesda, Activision Blizzard, and Xbox Game Studios.

Booty now oversees Bethesda, Activision Blizzard, and Xbox Game Studios. Some executive departures are expected.

Microsoft is blending Activision Blizzard into its growing Microsoft Gaming business. Despite knowing that Modern Warfare III and Diablo IV won’t be on Xbox Game Pass this year, Xbox fans eagerly await Microsoft’s announcement about including Activision Blizzard games in Xbox Game Pass.

Phil Spencer’s internal memo (via The Verge):

Earlier today, Activision CEO Bobby Kotickformally announcedthat Friday December 29th, 2023 will be his last day at Microsoft Gaming. 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.