Activision Blizzard Loses its Second Executive in a Week
Activision Blizzard CFO Spencer Neumann had left the firm. The company terminated Neumann’s contract, and the executive is expected to join Netflix. While Neumann’s departure wasn’t unusual on its own, the announcement of another executive’s decision to leave the company has led to some speculation.Earlier this week it was confirmed that
It has also been confirmed that Blizzard Entertainment CFO Amrita Ahuja has left the company to join Square, the payment company which is led by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Ahuja became the CFO of Blizzard in March 2018, and had served in several roles within Activision Blizzard over the last eight years. Between 2010 and 2012, Ahuja was the vice president of strategy and development, from 2012 to 2015 the departing executive was the vice president of finance and operations. Then, until May 2018, Ahuja was the senior vice president of investor relations.
Ahuja herself has not stated a specific reason as to why she decided to leave Activision Blizzard, but many are speculating that something serious is going on at the company. In addition to the departures of Ahuja and Neumann, Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg left the company in March 2018. Hirshberg didn’t disclose the reason for his departure either, with his exit statement simply thanking Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick for the opportunity and his support.
One suggestion gathering steam is that the departing executives are unhappy about efforts to get the company’s financials and active user figures back on track. There has been a decline in the number of monthly active users across the company, including Activision-owned mobile juggernaut King, which is responsible for Candy Crush Saga and other Saga games.
In one effort to cut costs, Blizzard has begun to pay employees to leave the company. The studio has also canceled its plans for Heroes of the Storm eSports in what seems to be an effort to spend more time developing new games and focusing on the more profitable areas of its business.
This week, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter also suggested that Overwatch is going free to play in order to drive those active player figures up. Pachter added that Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 could go down the free to play route too. While the exact reason for the Activision executive departures is unclear for now, looking at the bigger picture, it doesn’t seem as though their decisions to leave are a coincidence.