Bobby Kotick, the chief executive of Activision Blizzard, continues to face pressure over accusations that he didn’t respond to claims of sexual misconduct from employees at the video game company. Now, a union-led investment group plans to demand that Mr. Kotick leave his position as an outside director at Coca-Cola, the DealBook newsletter was first to report.
The SOC Investment Group will ask Coca-Cola not to renominate Mr. Kotick to its board next year. The call by SOC, which works with union pension funds that it says manage more than $250 billion in assets (and was previously known as the CtW Investment Group), comes weeks after the group called for Mr. Kotick to resign as Activision’s chief.
The group had initially campaigned against what it said was Mr. Kotick’s outsize pay package. It shifted gears after a California regulator accused Activision of tolerating pervasive sexual harassment, the Securities and Exchange Commission started an investigation and The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr. Kotick had known about complaints for years, often without acting. (Mr. Kotick denied many of the accusations in the report.)
SOC is focusing on Coca-Cola because of its public commitments to diversity and inclusion. “We don’t think he’s an adequate person to serve as a director,” Richard Clayton, SOC’s research director, told DealBook. It is the latest effort to hold the beverage company to its stated commitment to social justice; the National Legal and Policy Center also cited the company’s willingness to speak out on social issues when it demanded Mr. Kotick’s resignation from the board last month.
Mr. Clayton said that although Coca-Cola wasn’t necessarily a leader in corporate America on pushing for social justice, it wasn’t a laggard either. (To give it another reason not to renominate Mr. Kotick, SOC will also tell Coca-Cola that he should instead focus on fixing Activision’s culture.)
If Coca-Cola doesn’t reject Mr. Kotick, SOC will oppose the re-election of several directors. “Should the Coke board renominate Kotick, that would tell us about a lack of commitment” to those social goals, Mr. Clayton said. He added that SOC hadn’t yet determined which other directors it would oppose for re-election. Coca-Cola’s 12-member board is up for election every year.
A spokesman for Coca-Cola declined to comment on investor calls to remove Mr. Kotick from its board.