Netflix Hires PayPal Vet Jeffrey Karbowski As Chief Accounting Officer, Replacing Short-Tenured Predecessor

Netflix has hired PayPal veteran Jeffrey Karbowski, 45, as VP and Chief Accounting Officer.

The staffing move follows a somewhat unusual sequence in 2022. Karbowski’s predecessor was Ken Barker, who joined the company after a 19-year run at video game maker Electronic Arts, only to resign last September after only three months in the job. An SEC filing at the time said the departure was due to personal reasons.

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Karbowski will report to Netflix CFO Spencer Neumann, who had been heading up accounting pending a search.

The newly minted exec held various posts at PayPal since joining the payment tech firm in 2013. He was most recently VP, Chief Accounting Officer. Prior to joining PayPal, Karbowski served as director of accounting at Microsoft-owned Skype and a senior manager at accounting firm Ernst & Young.

Netflix said in an SEC filing it is paying Karbowski an annual base salary of $2 million, a one-time signing bonus of $400,000 and $1 million in annual stock options.

While it continues to lead the global streaming field with 223 million subscribers, Netflix faces a number of questions from Wall Street and entertainment peers. It will report financial results from the fourth quarter next Thursday, and hopes to avoid anything close to a repeat of the disastrous quarterly earnings releases of one year ago. The company projects it will add about 4.5 million subscribers in the period.

Investors will be looking to see if the rollout of a cheaper subscription tier with advertising last November has helped spur any subscriber sign-ups as of yet. Along with advertising, the company has said 2023 will see it make more sweeping moves to recapture revenue from password sharing. Rather thank wink and ignore those sharing passwords, the company is testing a scheme that lets it charge a nominal fee for a subscriber to share their log-in credentials. Opinions differ as to the exact amount of revenue that can potentially be reclaimed, though it could amount to billions of dollars. Still, even Netflix execs acknowledge the high degree of sensitivity involved in implementing the initiative.

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