Activision clears execs in scandal

Publisher releases findings of investigation into its stock option backdating process and finds no intentional wrongdoing by execs, pins blame on former employees.

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The recent rash of publisher stock option scandals appears to be coming to an end, as Activision has joined the growing number of companies ready to put the issue behind them. Yesterday the publisher announced the results of an internal investigation into its stock option granting practices over the course of 15 years.

The investigation determined that a number of Activision executives--chairman and CEO Robert Kotick, cochairman Brian Kelly, board director and senior advisor Ronald Doornink, and senior VP, general counsel, and secretary George Rose--"did not engage in intentional wrongdoing."

However, the publisher did find that three former employees and its outgoing head of human resources bore "significant responsibility" for faults with the company's option granting practices. The report does not make any determination as to whether they were guilty of intentional wrongdoing.

The company also announced a number of steps it is taking to prevent such mishaps from happening again, including the creation of a principal compliance officer job and new outside legal advisors.

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