By Joe Flint
Netflix Inc. (NFLX) is expected to name Activision Blizzard Inc. Chief Financial Officer Spencer Neumann as its new chief financial officer as early as this week, a person familiar with the matter said.
Activision Blizzard said in a securities filing Monday that it was putting Mr. Neumann on paid leave and that he would subsequently be fired for cause unrelated to the company’s financial reporting or disclosure procedures. The videogame company said chief corporate officer Dennis Durkin would take over as chief financial officer, a post he previously held.
Mr. Neumann joined Activision Blizzard 18 months ago, and his contract hadn’t expired, according to a securities filing. Netflix is known for poaching executives who are still under contract and has been sued over that practice by both 21st Century Fox and Viacom Inc.
Before working for Activision Blizzard, Mr. Neumann held multiple positions at Walt Disney Co. in its theme-park and television divisions. He also had stints at private-equity firms Providence Equity Partners and Summit Partners.
At Netflix, Mr. Neumann will be reunited with several former Disney colleagues, including board member Anne Sweeney, who oversaw a large chunk of the company’s television operations. Earlier in December, Netflix hired away longtime ABC programming executive Channing Dungey into a senior creative position.
Mr. Neumann, who will be based in Los Angeles, is succeeding David Wells, who announced his intention to step down as Netflix’s chief financial officer in August.
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News of Netflix’s plans to hire Mr. Neumann were first reported by Reuters.