64% of Netflix Share Votes Rejected $166 Million Executive Pay Proposal

About 26% of the ballots cast supported the company’s compensation plan

Netflix Reed Hastings
Netflix co-founder and executive chairman Reed Hastings attends the Netflix & Mediaset Partnership Announcement in Rome in 2019. (Ernesto S. Ruscio/Getty Images / Netflix)

Only 25.7% of Netflix share votes approved the streamer’s $166 million cumulative executive pay proposal, according to documents released by the company.

Of the 379,773,197 share vote total, 25.74% of share votes were in favor of the proposed pay package, while 63.65% share votes were against the proposal with 0.18% of share votes abstained and 10.42% non-votes.

The majority vote against the proposal, which is nonbinding and serves an advisory function, marks the second lowest approval rate this year, behind only Simon Property Group, which was among the 1.5% of companies who asked shareholders to weigh in on executive compensation packages having rejected the “Say on Pay” proposals.

The pay packages included total compensation for co-CEO Ted Sarandos, former co-CEO Reed Hastings and Greg Peters, who was elevated from COO to co-CEO earlier this year. In 2022, Hastings earned $51.1 million in total compensation last year while Sarandos brought in $50.3 million and Peters received $28.1 million. 

Last week’s rare dissent came days after WGA West president Meredith Stiehm sent an open letter to Netflix and Comcast shareholders urging them to reject the pay proposals ahead of the votes, pointing to the intensifying impact of the guild’s strike, which recently entered into its second month.

“Netflix’s content pipeline has been blocked, with dozens of projects that were in development or ordered to series as of May 1st unable to move forward until WGA negotiations conclude,” Stiehm wrote in the letter to Netflix shareholders. “A delay in the writing, production, and release of new content may impact Netflix’s ability to attract and retain subscribers and viewers just as the company asks customers to watch advertising and pay more for its content.”

Following the news of the rejection, official social media accounts for the WGA noted that the “excessive sum” could instead be used for “Netflix’s annual share of all of WGA’s proposed improvements for writers — twice over.”

“Instead, this money paid the top Netflix execs who are creating risk for the company and shareholders by not offering writers a fair deal,” the WGA wrote in statement posted to Twitter. “Netflix’s board needs to spend less time thinking up ways to pay its executive team more money and instead address the writers’ strike that is delaying major shows like ‘Stranger Things.’”