“David has been a valuable partner to Netflix and to me,” Reed Hastings, chief executive officer at Netflix, said. “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,” he added.
Wells has been with the company since 2004 and has been CFO since 2010. In 2008 he was made vice president of finance planning and analysis.
“It’s been 14 wonderful years at Netflix, and I’m very proud of everything we’ve accomplished,” Wells said.
“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,” he added.
Netflix said the search for a new CFO will include both internal and external candidates.
During Wells’ tenure, Netflix experienced phenomenal subscriber growth, but recently customer additions have slowed both domestically and internationally. Analysts have also been concerned about Netflix’s negative cash flow from operations and the lack of certain disclosures.
In 2017, Laura Martin, an analyst at Needham, said analysts didn’t know enough about ROI, earnings, or subscriber-growth drivers. “We see extra risks because Wall Street doesn’t have enough information to calculate the bottom if the shares fall out of favor,” she said at the time.
Netflix also faces growing competition from the Walt Disney Co.’s upcoming streaming service, which is expected to launch in 2019.
Still, Netflix shares have significantly outperformed the S&P 500 in the last 12 months and at one point the price was more than $400. Shares sat at $341.31 late Monday, down about 1.3% in the wake of the announcement of Wells’ departure.