Netflix CEO Reed Hastings' compensation package for 2019 saw more than a $2 million increase, climbing to $38.58 million from $36.08 million the year before, with option awards totaling $37.4 million, according to the annual proxy statement filed early Wednesday and obtained by Deadline.
For the past two years, Hastings' base salary has been $700,000, with option awards in 2018 totaling $33.38 million. Chief Content Officer Ted Sarando also saw a significant increase in pay by $6 million to $18 million in 2019, with his options growing to a 2019 compensation total of $34.67 million from $29.65 million the year prior.
Deadline reports that the annual filing was slightly different for 2019, with an extended explanation of pay practices and option grants after a non-binding vote at last June's annual meeting not to approve executive compensation packages. "Our recent say on pay vote showed that there are concerns about our unique approach to pay. We welcome the input from our shareholders and have gained valuable insights during our conversations with many of you throughout the past year," lead independent director Jay Hoag wrote of the streaming giant's practice of offering a base salary and combination equity grants in lieu of bonuses.
"We take your feedback seriously," Hoag added, saying he had heard "a call for clearer and more transparent disclosure." In order to bow to those requests, Hoag said Netflix "enhanced this proxy statement, with the intent of providing clearer discussion of our governance and approach to executive compensation. We hope that we've made this year's proxy easier to read."
The proxy was published the day after Netflix reported a large gain in global subscribers for the first quarter amid the coronavirus pandemic, during which people in many countries have been ordered to stay home. With reported revenue of $5.7 billion in line with company expectations, earnings per share at $1.57 was slightly lower than the predicted $1.66. Subscribers, however, skyrocketed — adding 2.3 million net subscriptions in the U.S. and Canada to hit 70 million, 6.9 million across Europe, the Middle East and Africa to 59 million, 2.9 million subscriptions in Latin America to 34 million and 3.6 million subscriptions in Asia-Pacific to 20 million.