×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Netflix CFO David Wells Is Leaving the Company

Exec says he plans to focus on philanthropy after exiting streaming-video company

David Wells, a 14-year veteran of Netflix who has guided the company through a period of massive growth since 2010 as chief financial officer, announced plans to leave the company.

Netflix said Wells will step down after helping the company choose his successor and announced that its search for a new CFO will include “both internal and external candidates.” Wells said in a statement that after exiting Netflix, he intends to focus more on philanthropy “but I’m not sure yet what that looks like.”

“After discussing my desire to make a change with Reed [Hastings, Netflix’s chairman and CEO], 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,” Wells said.

Hastings, in a statement, said, “David has been a valuable partner to Netflix and to me. 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.”

As CFO, Wells has engineered a debt-fueled binge on content spending, with Netflix projecting programming costs of upwards of $8 billion in 2018 (on a P&L basis). He also was a key leader in Netflix’s aggressive international expansion of the streaming service to more than 190 countries.

It’s possible that Wells is simply looking for a change and that he’s “burned out,” said Raj Das, global head of digital practice at executive recruiter Buffkin/Baker. Or, Das speculated, “maybe the board said, ‘Let’s bring a fresh face into the mix to take the company to the next level.'” Buffkin/Baker is not currently working with Netflix on any executive-placement assignments, according to Das.

Wells was named Netflix’s chief financial officer in 2010, when then-CFO Barry McCarthy departed. Prior to that, Wells served in a variety of roles, most recently as VP of financial planning and analysis. From July 2015 to July 2017, he lived and worked in the Netherlands as part of building up Netflix’s European operations.

Before joining Netflix in 2004, Wells worked for Deloitte Consulting in multiple roles from August 1998 to March 2004 and in the non-profit world before getting his MBA. Wells holds an MBA and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in commerce from the University of Virginia.

Wells is on the board of the Trade Desk, a programmatic-advertising platform company, which he joined in January 2016, and serves as audit committee chair and on the compensation committee.

More Digital

  • hdhomerun roku app

    HDHomerun App Brings Live TV to Roku Devices

    Roku users are getting another way to watch live television with the help of their favorite streaming devices: Silicondust, maker of the HDHomerun TV tuners, has released a beta version of its HDHomerun app for Roku TVs and streaming devices. “We need to start out by saying this is very much a beta product,” the [...]

  • Vox Media

    Vox Media Staff Ratifies First Union Contract, Negotiated by Writers Guild

    Staffers at Vox Media, which includes Curbed, Eater, Polygon, Recode, SB Nation, The Verge and Vox.com, have ratified their first collective bargaining agreement with more than 90% in support. The staffers are represented by the Writers Guild of America East. Vox Media’s 350-member unit began bargaining their first contract in April 2018. The campaign to [...]

  • Joslyn Davis, Lily-Marston - Shared Media

    Clevver’s Joslyn Davis, Lily Marston Launch Their Own YouTube Media Venture (EXCLUSIVE)

    Here’s the latest chapter in the saga of Clevver, the entertainment/lifestyle YouTube network marooned by the shuttering of former parent Defy Media and subsequently snapped up by Hearst Magazines. Two of the principal creatives behind Clevver — Joslyn Davis and Lily Marston — together with Clevver Media co-founder Jorge Maldonado have launched Shared Media, their [...]

  • Money-Diaries-Refinery29

    Refinery29 to Produce Interactive Series Funded by Eko (EXCLUSIVE)

    Refinery29 has been bitten by the “Bandersnatch” bug. The millennial-female-focused digital media and entertainment company inked a pact with Eko, an interactive-video platform developer whose backers include Walmart, to produce several “choose-your-own-adventure”-style series based on Refinery29 content properties. The companies have started development on their first project: an interactive scripted adaptation of Refinery29’s popular “Money [...]

  • Dan Howell

    YouTube Star Dan Howell Comes Out as Gay: 'It Gets So Much Better'

    It’s Pride Month, and popular YouTube vlogger Dan Howell had a message for fans that he’d been working on for a year: “Basically, I’m Gay,” he shared in a video Thursday. In the 45-minute video, Howell discussed coming to terms with his sexual orientation and his thoughts on labels that people use to define themselves [...]

  • Netflix Expands Korean Content Commitment

    Netflix Expands Korean Content Commitment as Industry Deepens

    Global streaming giant, Netflix is expanding its involvement in the Korean film and TV industries by greenlighting several new shows and renewing others. “When we started three years ago, we had a high degree of confidence that Korean drama would work well in Asia, but we had no internal metrics of our own,” Korean content [...]

  • Instagram Logo

    Instagram Outage: Facebook’s Photo Sharing Service Went Down For Multiple Hours

    Instagram faced another major outage Thursday afternoon, with users from around the world reporting that they weren’t able to access Facebook’s photo sharing service via its app and website. An Instagram spokesperson told Variety around 5pm PT that the issue had been resolved: “Earlier today, a technical issue caused some people to have trouble accessing [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content