After helping to guide Netflix through its days of massive and fast growth and ensuring significant financial results in the process, Wells will ensure a solid transition.
Netflix announced early this week that the company’s Chief Financial Officer David Wells would step down as soon as a successor to take on his role is found. The search for his successor will include experienced candidates from both internal and external sources. Wells said he plans to stay on in his role until his successor is found and will ensure a smooth transition.
Wells is highly regarded on Wall Street for helping many investors to understand the company’s business model as it quickly changes from a DVD-by-mail platform to a global internet entertainment powerhouse in Hollywood, streaming premium and original content and green lighting new shows and series. He joined Netflix in 2004 and served as the company’s Chief Financial Officer since 2010.
Under his careful guidance, he has watched the company’s stock prices soar from approximately $26 in 2010 to over $341 today.
While it is often a bad sign that a company is headed for some kind of failure when one of its top executives chooses to leave especially the financial officer, Wells’ departure does not seem to give investors a reason to worry. Shares quickly recovered from the 1.4% decline at the open on Monday morning. Investors and the overall stock market feel confident in the company’s strategy and drive to grow.
Wells said in a statement about his time at Netflix, “It’s been 14 wonderful years at Netflix, and I’m very proud of everything we’ve accomplished. After discussing my desire to make a change with Reed, 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. Personally, I intend my next chapter to focus more on philanthropy and I like big challenges but I’m not sure yet what that looks like.”
Reed Hastings, Chief Executive Officer at Netflix said of Wells’ departure, “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. I look forward to working with him during the transition as we identify a new CFO who will help us continue to pursue our ambitious goals.”
The company has produced well regarded hit series including “House of Cards” and “Stranger Things”. During his tenure at Netflix, the company’s number of subscribers soared from just 23 million in 2011 to over 124 million as of now in 2018.