While a string of baffling business decisions led to Netflix losing thousands of subscribers and more than 60 percent of its market value last year, hey, don’t worry: CEO Reed Hastings made a lot of money anyway, approximately 68 percent more than he did in 2010. According to the company’s just-filed proxy with the Securities And Exchange Commission, Hastings collected around $9.3 million for a year in which his company saw its biggest reversal of fortune to date—a significant increase from the $5.5 million he took home in 2010, when the biggest complaint anyone had about Netflix was that it was taking way too long to get a copy of Avatar. Much of Hastings’ big score, ironically, came from exercising his stock options, which netted him $8.8 million even as shareholders saw the value of their own holdings plummet.
Still, there is some karmic punishment in store: Netflix noted that “in light of the company’s performance in 2011,” Hastings will be forced to take a pay cut in the coming year, with his salary remaining steady at $500,000 despite all other senior executives getting raises, but with the value of his stock option allowance cut in half to a paltry $1.5 million, which isn’t even enough to buy the Netflix rocket that Hastings was planning to put all the DVDs on to shoot them into the sun. How is he supposed to make Netflix a basic-cable channel now? [A somber string adagio plays as Hastings sticks out his lower lip, thrusts his hands in his pockets, and slinks away.]