Netflix Hires Spencer Wang as VP of Finance, Investor Relations23 Mar, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Subscription streaming pioneer’s cozy relationship with Wall Street continues with the hire of Credit Suisse analyst
As it seeks a global footprint into 200 countries by 2017, Netflix needs the investment community’s blessing. To help keep the lines of communication clear with Wall Street, the service hired veteran media analyst Spencer Wang as VP of finance and investor relations.
Wang, who was managing director and head of media and Internet equity research at Credit Suisse First Boston, will periodically blog to help investors better understand Netflix, its vision and the future of Internet TV.
“This is an industry I followed closely during my time as a media and Internet equity analyst on Wall Street. With the massive change reshaping the video business, it’s great to be part of the team at the forefront of this amazing evolution,” Wang wrote in March 20 post.
Erin Kasenchak, director of investor relations at Netflix, has previously said she plans to retire. Kasenchak, who joined the SVOD service in 2004, has headed investor relations for the past two years.
Wang’s appointment could also be explained in part by a misunderstanding generated by Netflix CFO David Wells’ most-recent appearance at an investor event.
Speaking March 4 at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom confab in San Francisco, Wells, in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s new net neutrality order, said Netflix appreciated reclassifying the Internet as a utility under Tittle II of the Communications Act of 1934. At the same time, he said management would have preferred a “non-regulated solution” to the issue.
The comment, which was picked up by the national media, appeared to suggest Netflix was waffling at the outcome and how it was achieved despite lobbying hard for net neutrality and FCC involvement.
That prompted Netflix spokesperson Anne Marie Sequeo to reaffirm the SVOD service’s support for the FCC’s action and reiterate that there was “zero change” in the company’s “well-documented position” in support of strong net neutrality rules.
Regardless, Netflix has appeared to curry favor with Wall Street ever since it hired prominent analysts to rotate as hosts for its quarterly fiscal webcasts. That move was criticized by Wedbush Securities media analyst and long-time Netflix bear Michael Pachter, who questioned the analysts’ objectivity.
Hence, the hiring of Wang as investor middleman.
“I’m looking forward to telling the Netflix story to the investment community,” he wrote.