Activision And EA Appear On "Most Overpaid CEOs" List

CEO paychecks under scrutiny.


The non-profit advocacy group As You Sow has released its 2019 "Most Overpaid CEOs" report and it includes two notable companies from the games industry. Both Activision's Bobby Kotick and Electronic Arts' Andrew Wilson appeared on the top 100 list, which is intended to promote corporate responsibility.

The non-profit bases its estimates on a CEO's yearly earnings, based on a calculation that takes into account shareholder returns. Kotick appeared at number 45, with an annual pay of more than $28 million--which As You Sow estimates is overpaid by almost $13 million. Andrew Wilson barely appeared on the list at number 98, with salary of more than $35 million, or an excess of $19 million.

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The median ratio between company CEO and median worker is 142:1. By comparison, Activision's was 301:1 and EA's was 371:1. The As You Sow list in general has a ratio of 300:1.

This report comes just after both companies shared their most recent fiscal results. Activision made headlines by boasting record profits while laying off hundreds of employees--roughly 8% of its workforce. Meanwhile EA posted a "difficult quarter" with games like Battlefield 5 underperforming expectations. EA's fortunes may be turning around, though, as Apex Legends surprised-launched to a huge reception.

Recently, stories of working conditions at high-profile developers like Rockstar, as well as Activision's mass layoffs, inspired the labor organization AFL-CIO to write an open letter to the games industry encouraging them to unionize. That letter explicitly mentioned both Kotick and Wilson.

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