Netflix CEO Reed Hastings Takes a $1.5M Pay Cut

After a rough few months, the company’s beleaguered honcho will suffer through $2M in 2012

Last Updated: December 23, 2011 @ 9:13 AM

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is getting the corporate equivalent of coal in his Christmas stocking – a pay cut.

According to the company’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, Hastings’ salary is taking a $1.5 million hit in 2012.

While his base annual salary of $500,000 remains the same, his stock option compensation drops from $3 million this year to $1.5 million next year.

Based on those two figures, Hastings will make less in 2012 than Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos and Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt. In 2011, Hastings led the executive pack.

Why the pay cut? One has to assume it is related to the company’s turbulent year.

Also Read: Ted Sarandos: 'Negative Momentum' at Netflix Will Turn Around in December

Netflix announced a controversial new pricing plan in July that enraged customers.

Hastings then admitted the company erred in a blog post while announcing a new DVD-by-mail service – Qwikster. How was it different from the original Netflix service? It wasn’t really, just a new name.

Netflix then canceled Qwikster and brought all its services back under one roof.

Throw in a few lost deals with the likes of Starz, and it’s been a rough few months for the company.

Still, aside from the contracts all of these mishaps came down to one issue. Netflix wanted to shift as many customers to streaming, which costs the company less than shipping physical DVDs. Those that still want the DVDs would have to pay more so Netflix doesn’t lose money on the service.

Most analysts seemed to understand the basic need, but it was the company’s way of going about the change that was calamitous, as were its attempts at damage control.

But Sarandos told TheWrap earlier this month that the company will bounce back in 2012, and who is to say it won’t?

For now, Hastings will have to settle for a couple million in change. Happy holidays indeed.