Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings steps down as CEO of streaming company | Netflix
Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings, the entrepreneur who reshaped the media landscape and led the charge into streaming, announced he is stepping down as co-chief executive of the company on Thursday.
Hastings, 62, co-founded the company in 1997 when Netflix delivered its subscribers movies on DVDs sent in the mail, will become chairman. Greg Peters, the company’s chief product and chief operating officer, will join Ted Sarandos, chief content officer, as a co-chief executive. Sarandos was elevated to co-CEO in July 2020.
“In the last two and a half years, I’ve increasingly delegated the management of Netflix to them,” Hastings said in a statement. He noted that Sarandos and Peters had dealt with the challenges of the pandemic and upheavals in the streaming industry.
“It was a baptism by fire, given Covid and recent challenges within our business,” Hastings wrote.
“But they’ve both managed incredibly well, ensuring Netflix continues to improve and developing a clear path to reaccelerate our revenue and earnings growth. So the board and I believe it’s the right time to complete my succession,” he added.
Netflix has been under pressure from restrained consumer spending and competition from Walt Disney Co, Amazon and others spending billions of dollars to make TV shows and movies for online audiences.
In the first half of 2022, Netflix shocked Wall Street by losing customers. The company returned to growth in the second half.
Hastings said he planned to work with Sarandos and Hastings as executive chairman for “many years to come”. He is one of Netflix’s largest individual shareholders, owning about 2% of the company, and has a personal fortune estimated at $3.3bn (£2.6bn) by Forbes. “I’ll also be spending more time on philanthropy, and remain very focused on Netflix stock doing well,” he wrote.
Hastings started Netflix 25 years ago with serial entrepreneur Marc Randolph. Initially, his rivals were rental chains like Blockbuster, which ceased operations in 2014. In 2007 the company launched a streaming service and shook up the media world, encouraging traditional and tech players to start their own services.
On Thursday Netflix said it had finished the year with 231m paid memberships and announced that it had added 7.7 million new customers over the last quarter, better than the expected 4.5 million new subscribers it had first predicted it would add during the period.
“2022 was a tough year, with a bumpy start but a brighter finish,” Netflix said in its quarterly letter to investors.
Reuters contributed to this article