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EA, Activision Appear in List of Top 100 Overpaid CEOs

Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard were both called out for having overpaid CEOs in an annual list from As You Sow.

As You Sow is a non-profit shareholder advocacy group that publishes a yearly report on the 100 most overpaid CEOs of the S&P 500 Index to call out “excessive compensation.” The organization calculates the overpayment by taking the median pay of an employee at the company and comparing it against the CEO’s pay.

Activision Blizzard’s CEO Bobby Kotick’s pay is $28,698,375. This is an overpayment of almost $13 million, according to As You Sow’s estimates. He was the 45th most overpaid CEO on the list.

Electronic Arts, Inc. head, Andrew Wilson, is paid $35,728,764. This is about $19.7 million too much, according to As You Sow. Wilson rounded out the end of the list, appearing at number 98.

“The median pay ratio for the S&P 500 is 142:1,” the report stated. “While the median for companies on As You Sow’s list of the 100 most overpaid CEOs is over twice as much, namely 300:1.”

As You Sow has been compiling the list since 2015.

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“This 2019 study is the fifth report of our research results,” the report stated. “During these five years, what has changed? Quite a bit, and not enough. Significantly, more large shareholders are voting against more CEO pay packages. Those who are not are more isolated and defensive.”

That Activision Blizzard appears on the list is not a good look for the company. Activision is under scrutiny for announcing layoffs of almost 800 employees just after boasting record revenues in 2018. The move saw Game Workers Unite rallying for the dismissal of Kotick earlier this month.

“While our financial results for 2018 were the best in our history, we didn’t realize our full potential,” Kotick said in an earnings report statement. “To help us reach our full potential, we have made a number of important leadership changes. These changes should enable us to achieve the many opportunities our industry affords us, especially with our powerful owned franchises, our strong commercial capabilities, our direct digital connections to hundreds of millions of players, and our extraordinarily talented employees.”

As for EA, the company had a “difficult quarter” for Q3 2018 according to Wilson himself.

“The video game industry continues to grow through a year of intense competition and transformational change,” Wilson said in a statement earlier this month. “Q3 was a difficult quarter for Electronic Arts and we did not perform to our expectations. We are now applying the strengths of our company to sharpen our execution and focus on delivering great new games and long-term live services for our players. We’re very excited about ‘Apex Legends,’ the upcoming launch of ‘Anthem,’ and a deep line-up of new experiences that we’ll bring to our global communities next fiscal year.”

While “Apex Legends” has already surpassed 25 million players since its release, things are not looking great for “Anthem.” The highly anticipated title was plagued by game-crashing bugs in its early access stages, leading EA to release a launch day patch to fix issues, and the game has already sustained some not-so-positive reviews.

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