Bobby Kotick is the CEO of Bobby Kotick’s Activision Blizzard . The Southern California-based video game holding company recently hired former Accenture executive Kristen Hines as its chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer. According to Kotick, Activision Blizzard is “excited to have Kristen join our leadership team to help drive even greater improvement.”
It sure seems Hines has the experience to elevate the corporate culture at the company Bobby Kotick has been leading since 1991. In addition to Accenture, she worked in corporate strategy for RSM Robson Rhodes in London and handled investment banking in New York for the CIBC World Markets.
Hines has over two decades of experience dealing with a vast array of clients in multiple industries. However, her focus is on culture transformations, large-scale enterprise, and talent strategies. She’s also skilled in mergers and acquisitions, for which she’s been an integral part for clients throughout Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.
Making Bobby Kotick’s Activision Blizzard Awesome Again
Hines and her direct supervisor Julie Hodges, the chief people officer, may have been brought on board to help bring the video game empire back to its A game. After all, Fortune recognized it as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2015 and 2016. Moreover, over the next five years, the company’s pledged to increase the percentage of women and nonbinary people in its workforce by 50%.
“In our early days, being recognized on any list of great companies was hard to imagine,” Kotick said. “There were times when we sold the office furniture to make payroll. Twenty-five years later, we [were] the world’s most successful video game company and one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.”
Recently Bobby Kotick said the company “has ambitious goals to become the most welcoming and inclusive company in the gaming industry. We have already made significant progress ensuring the safety and well-being of our employees.” In early April 2022, a California district court approved an $18 million settlement with the company and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
According to Bobby Kotick’s Activision Blizzard, Hines will work with leadership at the gaming company and employee groups to implement policies and programs that will strengthen and nurture an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workplace environment. As the chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer, Hines will also oversee all gaming teams to ensure inclusive and diverse perspectives are included in game design, including character development, game play, community interaction, and storylines.
Bobby Kotick Reflects on the Gaming Corporation
“I want to reiterate my conviction to create the most welcoming and inclusive workplace,” Kotick said. “We have taken meaningful actions to improve our company and our culture. But there is more to do. To become the model workplace we all aspire to be, more change is required. But I am confident that we will get there.”
Activision Blizzard is best known for blockbuster hits, including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Crash Bandicoot, Guitar Hero, Diablo, Overwatch, Starcraft, Hearthstone, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, Spyro, Skylander, and Candy Crush Saga.
“Successful business leaders who have helped build institutions of lasting value are all committed to talent and a culture of excellence. This is usually accomplished by the identification, retention, and development of great people. For me, the most difficult part of the process is accurately assessing character, integrity, and humility. Still, these are the most important factors for success,” says Kotick, who played a crucial role in Activision’s acquisition of Blizzard in 2008. “Our mission is to inspire audiences to play, connect, and compete by making the most engaging entertainment in the world. Our talent evaluation process ensures that each new hire shares that commitment. Depending on the role, the ability to inspire others is something I also look for. We like people with the potential to be leaders of leaders, not managers of managers. We work hard to maintain a balance between collaboration and cooperation and independence.”