Noting that Coke has rushed to act publicly on other “controversial public policy issues”, such as denounce Georgian law on the integrity of elections, NLPC Corporate Integrity Project Director Paul Chesser says it is time to act in this case as well. “Sexual harassment in the workplace is unacceptable,” Chesser writes. “There is no constituency in favor of sexual harassment, except maybe among business leaders who cover up for each other. “
The NLPC asks Quincey to “immediately call for the resignation of Robert A. ‘Bobby’ Kotick from his post as a director on the board of directors of The Coca-Cola Company, and that he no longer be considered as a candidate for a director’s mandate at the 2022 annual meeting of shareholders ”.
“If Mr. Kotick refuses to voluntarily step down from his position as a director, we ask that you call a special meeting of directors to remove him. “
We are writing to ask you to immediately request the resignation of Robert A. “Bobby” Kotick from his tenure as a director on the board of directors of The Coca-Cola Company, and that he be removed as a candidate director for a term of office. renewal of his term of office at the 2022 annual meeting of Shareholders. If Mr. Kotick refuses to voluntarily step down as a director, we ask you to call a special meeting of directors to remove him.
The National Legal and Policy Center promotes ethics in public life, sponsors the Corporate Integrity Project and is a shareholder of The Coca-Cola Company. We are sponsoring a resolution for the 2022 Annual Meeting of Shareholders to implement a policy to make the Chairman of the Board a separate role from the CEO.
Over the past several months (and even years), it has emerged that Mr. Kotick, as CEO of Activision Blizzard, Inc., has run his business in a way that challenges his judgment, character and its transparency vis-à-vis the Board of Directors.
On November 16, 2021, the Wall Street Journal published a detailed report on years of misconduct – and even alleged crimes – that occurred at Activision Blizzard under the supervision of Mr. Kotick, in which he was so accused. credible to have minimized, ignored and / or covered up to illegal behavior. The article followed revelations earlier this year that reported investigations into Activision Blizzard and Mr. Kotick’s role by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and the California Dept. of Fair Employment and Housing.
The Journal’s November article cites internal company sources, documents, communications and interviews with former employees and people close to the company as the basis for its reporting. The newspaper reported:
They show that [Mr. Kotick] were aware of allegations of employee misconduct in many areas of the company. He did not brief the board of directors on everything he knew, as interviews and documents show, even after regulators began investigating the incidents in 2018. Some departing employees accused of misconduct were congratulated on the exit, while their colleagues were asked to remain silent on these matters.
The Journal added that a California Dept. of Fair Employment and Housing alleges that “the company ignored numerous employee complaints of harassment, discrimination and retaliation, citing what it called its ‘frat boy’ culture.”
Allegations of sexual misconduct within the company include an accusation of rape by an employee against a supervisor. In another incident, an employee allegedly committed suicide after a photo of her genitals was circulated at a company party. And just two months ago, after just a month in her new leadership role, longtime employee Jennifer Oneal resigned and told a member of the firm’s legal team that “I have been symbolized, marginalized and discriminated against ”.
In recent months, Activision Blizzard has seen several senior executives and design talent leave. Mr. Kotick also appears to have lost the trust and support of a significant percentage of his employees, as many staged a walkout in July to show their disgust at the company’s response to allegations of sexual misconduct. Following the November Journal report, employees staged another walkout and more than 1,800 (up from 800 in mid-November) signed a petition calling for Mr. Kotick’s resignation.
Influential investor groups in Activision Blizzard have also called for Mr Kotick’s resignation. The Wall Street Journal reported on Nov. 22 that Mr. Kotick had told his senior executives at the company that he would consider leaving the company if the “culture issues” were not corrected “quickly.”
Mr. Kotick’s leadership at Activision Blizzard is clearly under siege, and with good reason. At best, he has major issues in his own business that require his full attention. At worst, he is partially – if not totally – guilty of the work environment that was first established by Activision, then Activision Blizzard, during his 30 years in office.
In contrast, The Coca-Cola Company, in the recent past, has boasted of how it empowers and empowers women entrepreneurs. And the company’s “Equal Opportunities and Affirmative Action Policy” explicitly prohibits harassment, intimidation, retaliation, threats and coercion based on several factors, including gender.
Mr. Quincey, you have not hesitated to involve the Company in controversial public policy issues, even when a significant portion of our customers, shareholders and business partners disagreed with your point of view.
For example, you made inflammatory and inflammatory allegations about Georgia’s governor and legislature for passing the Election Integrity Act of 2021. You called the new law “unacceptable”.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is unacceptable. There is no constituency in favor of sexual harassment, except perhaps among business leaders who cover up for each other.
It’s time for you to confront Bobby Kotick’s continued membership on the Coca-Cola Board of Directors.
Under your leadership, the Coca-Cola brand has been diminished as you have criticized this country and its institutions, while remaining silent on the genocide in China and human rights violations in dozens of countries where Coca-Cola products are sold.
Your hypocrisy has not gone unnoticed. Signs of virtue and complacency towards the loudest political activists are no substitute for real leadership.