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Netflix Expected to Name Activision Blizzard’s Spencer Neumann as New CFO

Spencer Neumann is joining Netflix as its new chief financial officer and will exit as Activision Blizzard’s CFO after less than two years, according to reports.

As first reported by Reuters, Neumann will start at Netflix in early 2019, replacing CFO David Wells. Netflix announced last summer that Wells planned to step down after 14 years with the company and would depart after a successor was hired.

Netflix didn’t immediately respond to a request for information outside of regular business hours.

In a Dec. 31 SEC filing, Activision Blizzard disclosed that it planned to fire Neumann “for cause unrelated to the Company’s financial reporting or disclosure controls and procedures.”

Neumann had joined Activision Blizzard as CFO in May 2017. Previously, he had been CFO and EVP of global guest experience at Disney’s Walt Disney Parks and Resorts division since 2012.

From 2005-12, Neumann worked at private-equity firms Providence Equity Partners and Summit Partners. Before that, he held several other roles with Disney, which he first joined in 1992, including EVP of the ABC Television Network from 2001-04 and CFO of the Walt Disney Internet Group from 1999-2001. Neumann holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and an MBA from Harvard University.

Netflix’s hiring of Neumann also was reported late Monday by the Wall Street Journal. Netflix wanted its next CFO to be based in L.A., where Neumann resides, to focus on production finance related to its original series and movies, per the Reuters report, citing an anonymous source. Wells has been based out of Netflix’s headquarters in Los Gatos, Calif.

In its filing Monday, Activision Blizzard said it placed Neumann on paid leave and informed him that it intends to fire him “pending an opportunity for him to demonstrate why cause does not exist to terminate his employment or why termination of his employment is not otherwise justified.”

With Neumann’s status in limbo, Activision Blizzard said that effective Jan. 1, 2019, chief corporate officer Dennis Durkin, 48, will assume the duties of CFO. Durkin — who previously served as chief financial officer prior to Neumann’s 2017 hire — will become permanent CFO in the event Neumann exits the post, according to the games company.

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