Netflix Announces Surprise Leadership Shake-Up

Co-founder Reed Hastings steps down as co-CEO, will stay on as executive chairman
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2023 7:37 AM CST
Netflix Announces Surprise Leadership Shake-Up
Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings is seen during an interview in Barcelona, Spain, on Feb. 28, 2017.   (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)

Netflix has a new co-CEO. Greg Peters, who has been serving as the streaming service's chief operating officer, will now take the helm alongside Ted Sarandos, replacing co-founder Reed Hastings, reports the Verge. Hastings will stick around as the company's executive chairman, "a role that founders often take (Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, etc.) after they pass the CEO baton to others," he wrote in a statement. He notes that he expects to remain in this new role "for many years to come." Per the Hollywood Reporter, the move comes with a hefty pay cut for Hastings, cutting his annual salary from $36.4 million to about $3 million. He remains one of the company's largest individual shareholders.

Netflix noted in a securities filing that the shift has already officially happened, as of Jan. 13. In his statement, Hastings writes that this "succession plan" had been in the works for years—in an earnings call, he noted it had been about a decade—and that elevating Sarandos to co-CEO in mid-2020 was part of that plan. Since then, it's been a "baptism by fire, given COVID and recent challenges within our business," he notes. LightShed analyst Rich Greenfield agrees that the switch isn't that big of a surprise internally, telling THR that "Reed has been grooming Greg for this job for years."

Greenfield adds that Sarandos is considered more of a "content person," while Peters is known for his expertise in product and technology. "This is Reed recognizing that Netflix is more than Reed Hastings, which is admirable for a sector that has let ego get in the way of succession time and again," he says. As the transition of Hastings, who co-founded the platform in 1997 with Marc Randolph, was announced, so were two others: Bela Bajaria, formerly the company's global head of television, is now its chief content officer, while Scott Stuber, who was the chief of global film, is now the chair of Netflix Film, reports CNBC. (More Reed Hastings stories.)

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