Netflix shareholders have rejected a vote for compensatory pay packages for the service’s executives. The decision comes days after the WGA (Writers Guild of America) sent a letter asking that bonuses be withheld in light of the continued writers strike.
The proposed package would have seen Netflix co-chief execs Greg Peters and Ted Sarandos receive $3million as a base salary, with Sarandos up for a whopping $17m performance bonus and the possibility of $20m in stock options. After being promoted earlier in the year following Netflix founder Reed Hasting’s transition to executive chairman, Peters is eligible for a $14.3m performance bonus and $17.3m in shares.
Netflix’s annual investor meeting was held yesterday June 1st, where shareholders rejected the proposal for compensation, however, the board can effectively overrule this decision and apply packages to company leaders as they see fit. It was only last year that investors approved an executive payment by just 27% of the votes cast.
The WGA letter, composed and delivered by its president, Meredith Stiehm, urged against the shareholders doling out the pay packages, calling them “inappropriate” in light of the continued strike.
According to the Guild, screenwriters’ pay has fallen by 14% in the past five years. Coupled with fears of AI replacing jobs and uncertainty about streaming residuals, members of the Guild sought a dialogue with studios, but, after six weeks of negotiating with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers resulted in a total impasse, the decision was made to go on strike — a choice that has seen the support from many in the industry.
The Alliance, which is comprised of a number of Hollywood studios and production companies including Netflix, Amazon, Disney and Apple, effectively refused the $68m per annum that the Guild has stated would be required to end the strike. Experts have predicted that the strikes could last well into August.