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Netflix Adds Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner to Board

Netflix, in a move to bring more international representation to its board, named Axel Spring chairman and CEO Mathias Döpfner as a director.

Döpfner’s appointment brings the number of Netflix directors to 12. His addition to the board comes after Netflix named Rodolphe Belmer, former CEO of Canal Plus Group, as a director in January, followed by former U.N. ambassador Susan Rice in March.

Axel Springer, based in Berlin, Germany, is a top European publisher and digital media company, with brands including Bild, Die Welt, Business Insider, and Politico Europe. Döpfner has served as CEO of the company since 2002.

“We are very pleased to welcome Mathias to the Netflix board,” Reed Hastings, Netflix’s chairman, co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. “His leadership at the vanguard of both European business and digital media brings us invaluable perspective and insight as we work to build and constantly improve our business all over the world.”

Döpfner said Netflix “has created a world-leading entertainment service that continues to break new ground for the benefit of creators and consumers.” He praised the company’s “radically innovative culture and governance.”

Döpfner has been at Axel Springer since 1998, initially as editor-in-chief of Die Welt. He was named CEO of Axel Springer in 2002, focusing on transforming the print-centric company into digital businesses. Döpfner also is a member of the board of Warner Music Group and a former director of Time Warner Inc.

The current Netflix board of directors comprises: Reed Hastings; Mathias Döpfner; Rodolphe Belmer; Susan Rice; Anne Sweeney, former president of Disney-ABC Television Group; Richard Barton, executive chairman of Zillow Group and founder of Expedia; A. George (Skip) Battle, former executive chairman of Ask Jeeves and executive at Andersen Consulting; Timothy Haley, managing director at Redpoint Ventures; Jay Hoag, general partner at Technology Crossover Ventures; Leslie Kilgore, former Netflix chief marketing officer; Ann Mather, ex-CFO of Pixar and Village Roadshow Pictures and a former Disney exec; and Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer.

Some Netflix investors aren’t happy with the company’s governance practices and have complained that the board isn’t responsive to their concerns. At the company’s annual stockholders meeting in June, a majority of shares cast by Netflix investors were in favor of changing the bylaws to elect directors by a simple majority — but the measure failed, because it did not meet Netflix’s supermajority voting requirement.

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