December 02, 2021 | Editor: Martin Wennerström
Activision Blizzard CEO considers departure
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has reportedly signaled his potential resignation in case the company’s sexual harassment and cultural issues are not resolved with sufficient haste. Recently, around 1,330 employees petitioned Kotick to resign following media allegations that he had ignored and failed to disclose sexual harassment and gender discrimination complaints from female employees. Additionally, a group of shareholders has called for the CEO’s resignation, the retirement of the Chairman and the Lead Independent Director, and the nomination of a non-executive Activision Blizzard employee to the board. In response, the company announced that it had formed a fully independent “Workplace Responsibility Committee” tasked with overseeing the company’s progress on workplace culture improvement, adding that it “is working” on adding a “new, diverse” director. The controversy around Activision Blizzard emerged in July 2021, when the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing announced that a two-year investigation had revealed sexual harassment and discrimination practices at the company.
Mizuho leadership resigns following regulatory sanctions
Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group announced that its CEO, Chairman and three other top executives will step down. The announcement comes after a series of technical system failures prompted Japanese regulators to issue the company with “business improvement” and “corrective action” orders. Group CEO Tatsufumi Sakai and Chairman Yasuhiro Sato will resign as of April 2022. Mizuho has not yet appointed a new CEO and plans to leave the chairmanship vacant. So far this year, Mizuho has been hit by eight system glitches which affected automated teller machine operations and foreign currency remittances.
Malaysian rubber glove maker Supermax Corp announced that its founder and largest shareholder, Datuk Seri Stanley Thai Kim Sim, will take over as Executive Chairman as of December 8. He will replace Albert Saychuan Cheok, who will stay on as an independent board member. Thai’s appointment comes approximately one year after he was acquitted on charges of insider trading at a former associate company, for which he had been initially sentenced to five years in prison. The leadership change occurs against the backdrop of a U.S. import ban on Supermax products, prompted by suspicions of forced labour in the company’s operations.
FCA slams companies for poor diversity and succession reporting
The UK Financial Reporting Council (“FCA”) has concluded, based on a study of a random sample of 100 FTSE 350 and small cap companies, that UK premium listed companies remain weak in their reporting on board appointments, succession planning and diversity. The review noted that, while there have been improvements in reporting on environmental and social issues, there is still “minimal information” on how diversity and inclusion policies and targets are linked to the companies’ strategies. The FCA found that there is “room for improvement” in firms’ reporting on the skills/knowledge assessment and diversity target setting undertaken by the nomination committee.
Governance in Brief – September 22, 2022
DOJ unveils crimefighting policies for corporate misconduct The U.S. Department of Justice has announced a new “carrots and sticks” approach to fighting corporate crime that encourages companies to report misconduct while making it more difficult for repeat offenders to enter settlements and deferred prosecutions.
Governance in Brief – September 8, 2022
BHP shareholders seek coherent climate policy Shareholder activist group The Australasian Center for Corporate Responsibility (“ACCR”) has, with the support of circa 100 co-sponsors, submitted a set of climate-focused resolutions to BHP Group’s next AGM. The ACCR is urging the miner to "proactively advocate for Australian policy settings that are consistent with the Paris Agreement's objective of limiting global warming to 1.5° Celsius."