Netflix Installs Electronic Arts Vet Ken Barker In Top Accounting Role, Inheriting Duties From Spencer Neuman, Who Will Remain CFO

Ken Barker, a 19-year veteran of video game maker Electronic Arts, has been named VP and principal accounting officer at Netflix.

The exec will take over the accounting role from Spencer Neumann, who had been handling it along with his duties as the company’s chief financial officer. Neumann will remain CFO after Barker’s arrival, according to the official announcement of the move.

Barker, 55, will start his new position on June 27, reporting to Neumann.

From 2003 to 2022, Barker held various positions at EA, most recently as SVP of finance. From 2003 to 2021, he was the company’s chief accounting officer. Before EA, Barker worked at Sun Microsystems and Deloitte & Touche.

In an SEC filing, Netflix said Barker will get an annual base salary of $2.4 million and an annual stock option allowance of $600,000.

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The exec moves come as Netflix navigates one of the most challenging periods in its 25-year history. After two straight disappointing quarters and a warning of widening subscriber losses, the company’s market value has plunged to one-third of its level just six months ago. Finally acknowledging a throng of new streaming competitors, Netflix has announced it plans to introduce a cheaper, ad-supported subscription tier along with ongoing efforts to push into video games, interactive entertainment and merchandising.

Neumann, who started at Netflix in January 2019 after exec stints at Activision Blizzard and Disney’s theme parks and resorts division, has presided over some financial milestones for the streaming giant. The company has become cash-flow positive, meaning it no longer needs to tap the debt market in order to fund its growth. Before its recent stumbles, that achievement had been hailed by many investors as a recent to invest in Netflix for the long term.

Financial discipline will be a key priority for the company in the near term after a lengthy period when it acted as the classic tech industry disruptor, spending its way to the top. With annual content spending approaching $20 billion, Netflix has conceded that it no longer has the field mostly to itself, particularly in the U.S., that it can’t afford to make indiscriminate investments. The company has recently laid off workers in an effort to reduce costs.

“We should right-size budgets depending on what the creative dictates, and what the size of the audience is,” global TV chief Bela Bajaria told The Wall Street Journal last April, shortly after the company’s grim first-quarter earnings report.

In addition to advertising, Netflix has said this year that another new source of revenue will be fees it plans to assess to subscribers looking to continue sharing passwords for their accounts. The company, which continues to lead the global streaming field with 222 million subscribers, is currently testing the password-sharing plan in three Latin American countries.

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