Reed Hastings has enjoyed a resurrection this year that would make the mythical phoenix proud of him. Following a series of missteps that prompted customer outcry just two years ago, it appeared that Hastings would be forced to step down from the helm of the online video streaming service. Since then, riding the wave of new subscriptions and critically acclaimed original programming like House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX)‘s stock price has gone nothing short of bonkers.
CEO Hastings rewarded for huge stock gains
Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) shares hit an all-time high price of $389.16 in October after ending 2012 at $92.59. The stock price is up 296% on the year and was the top performer in the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 this year. Never mind that Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) is not a terrifically profitable company.
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As a result, according to the Associated Press, CEO Reed Hastings will enjoy a 50% salary increase. According to a recent regulatory filing, Hasting’s annual salary jumps to $3 million, up from the $2 million he earned this year. His annual stock option allowance also improves to $3 million from the current level of $1 million.
Additionally, In another regulatory filing, Hastings enjoyed a great Christmas (technically, the day after the holiday). Hastings acquired more than 15,238 shares for $417,750 on Dec. 26, which he sold for nearly $5.8 million that same day. This sale was made as part of a predetermined stock sale program, which triggers when the company’s stock hits a certain price.
Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) presently enjoys over 45 million subscribers worldwide, and in order to build this number further it must continue to look for new subscribers abroad. This year saw the company advance its presence in Europe by beginning streaming service in Holland and other countries where it saw immediate success.
Netflix throws off “poison pill”
Lastly for 2013, the company threw off a “poison pill” provision that was instituted when activist investor Carl Icahn acquired 10% of the company this year. Icahn sold his stake in the company in October, walking away with an $800-million profit. Following the sale, Icahn thanked Hastings and the rest of the Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) team for “a job well done.” While Icahn was the most high-profile investor to reap Netflix’s growth, all who picked up Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) stock this year presumably have reason to also thank Reed Hastings.