Spencer Neumann, who was abruptly put on leave by Activision Blizzard Inc. and then fired from his job as chief financial officer, had a provision in his contract that barred him from negotiating with other potential employers.
Activision, the maker of Call of Duty and other video games, said on New Year’s Eve it was firing Neumann for a cause unrelated to the company’s financial reporting. Netflix Inc. said Jan. 2 Neumann would be its new CFO. He replaces David Wells, who held the post for the last eight years and said in August he would be stepping down.
Neumann’s contract with Activision included a “covenant not to shop” for employment outside the company, except during the last six months of his contract, which ran through April 2020. On Jan. 2, Activision reappointed Dennis Durkin as CFO.
Activision Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick has added talent from professional sports broadcasting, consumer products and the film industry to broaden his company’s revenue sources.
Neumann joined Activision in May 2017 from Walt Disney Co., where he served as CFO of that company’s theme-park division. In the last fiscal year, he had total compensation of $9.47 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, including $2.8 million in options awards and $4.15 million in stock awards.
Netflix has recruited heavily from competitors in the entertainment industry as it increases production of TV shows and movies to please a growing worldwide base of more than 137 million subscribers. In the last year, the company has lured executives such as ABC’s entertainment chief Channing Dungey. Netflix has been sued by rivals such as 21st Century Fox Inc. and Viacom Inc. for poaching staff.
By Christopher Palmeri & Anders Melin