Netflix’s Reed Hastings Made $23.2M In 2016, Up 39.5%

Associated Press

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his C-suite colleagues saw big raises for 2016, a year in which the company stock appreciated 8.2%, according to the company proxy just filed at the SEC.

Hastings’ take improved 39.5% to $23.2 million — his best payday yet, although it’s far lower than what CEOs make at some of the companies Netflix bedevils including CBS, Viacom, Disney, and Fox.

The package consists of $900,000 in salary, $22.3 million in option awards, and $16,834 in other compensation. The last category mostly represents medical premiums.

Netflix likes to give execs equity because, the proxy says, it ties them to shareholders and “is a good mechanism to link executive compensation to long-term company performance.”

The proxy notes separately that Hastings owns an aircraft that he leases to Netflix for his business-related travel. The company paid him $358,315 for that last year.

Hastings doesn’t have to live on pay-check money: In 2015 he received $176 million by exercising 2.2 million in stock options.

The board determined that Netflix hit all of its financial targets for 2016.

Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos closed the pay gap in a year when Netflix became more dependent on original productions: He was the second highest paid exec with compensation of $18.9 million, up 35.3%.

Shareholders will have a chance to vote on several proposals at the annual meeting to be held June 6 in Los Gatos, Calif.

They can weigh in about executive compensation in an advisory vote.

Another proposal would make it easier for investors to nominate directors. The current ones oppose the idea, saying that more democracy would distract managers and “could create a Board without the experience to lead the Company to achieve its long-term goals.”

New York’s Comptroller of the State wants Netflix to issue an annual report describing its efforts to promote environmental sustainability. The board opposes this, too, saying that although sustainability is “an admirable goal,” a report would “place a burden on management and distract from day-to-day responsibilities.”

The company also is cool on a proposal to get rid of directors’ staggered, three-year terms.  That would make it easier for shareholders to replace a bad performer, or support candidates who want to see a change in policy.

But the company says the current system “encourages directors to look to the long-term best interest of Netflix and its stockholders by strengthening the independence of non-employee directors against the often short-term focus of certain investors and special interests.”

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