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    Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    Netflix CFO David Wells To Step Down

    Netflix Inc. announced that Chief Financial Officer, David Wells plans to step down after helping the company choose his successor. The search will include both internal and external candidates. Wells joined Netflix in 2004 and has served as CFO since 2010.

    Wells, 47, said. "After discussing my desire to make a change with Reed, we agreed that with Netflix's strong financial position and exciting growth plans, this is the right time for us to help identify the next financial leader for the company. Personally, I intend my next chapter to focus more on philanthropy and I like big challenges but I'm not sure yet what that looks like."
    Wells guided Netflix's finances as the company defied sceptics' expectations of how much money it could spend on programming without going broke, pumping billions of dollars into new TV shows and movies. Netflix's has budgeted more than $8 billion (roughly Rs. 56,000 crores) this year to buy shows from rival companies and finance productions of its own.

    The growing output helped Netflix boost its subscribers past 130 million globally and upend the TV business. By giving its customers the option to watch high-end TV shows at a time and place of their choosing, Netflix has undermined the traditional pay-TV business and the very concept of live TV.
    Yet Netflix's spending has also raised concerns about the company's financial health. Though profitable, Netflix still spends more money than it makes each year, and has had to sell bonds to finance its programming.

    Wells's successor will have to help Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos manage the spending while facing stiffer competition.
    "David has been a valuable partner to Netflix and to me," Hastings said in a statement. "He skillfully managed our finances during a phase of dramatic growth that has allowed us to create and bring amazing entertainment to our members all over the world while also delivering outstanding returns to our investors."
    Netflix was still a DVD-by-mail service when Wells joined the company in 2004. He worked under Barry McCarthy, the chief financial officer who took Netflix public. McCarthy is now the CFO of Spotify.

    Investors largely took the shakeup in stride, with shares trading down less than 1 percent as of 12:25pm in New York. The stock had surged 80 percent this year through Friday's close.
    Wells won't be leaving money on the table when he departs. While most public companies periodically give executives unvested equity that's forfeited if they leave, Netflix awards its top bosses fully vested stock options. Wells's unexercised securities were worth about $50 million as of Friday's close, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

    Brian White, an analyst at Monness Crespi Hardt & Co., advised investors not to read too much into Wells's exit, which follows a disappointing quarter.
    "Given the tremendous success of Netflix over the years and a future that we view as very bright, we believe the company will be able to attract a high-quality CFO," he said in a note.
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