Rice currently is a distinguished visiting research fellow at American University’s School of International Service, as well as a senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
“We are delighted to welcome Ambassador Rice to the Netflix board,” Netflix chairman and CEO Reed Hastings said in a statement. “For decades, she has tackled difficult, complex global issues with intelligence, integrity and insight and we look forward to benefiting from her experience and wisdom.”
Rice commented, “I am thrilled to be joining the board of directors of Netflix, a cutting-edge company whose leadership, high-quality productions, and unique culture I deeply admire.”
Rice, 53, is a controversial political figure. Conservatives have criticized her over her initial comments about the September 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead, which she called “spontaneous.” Critics have accused her of lying and trying to downplay the premeditated nature of the attack. In addition, it emerged last year that as Obama’s national security adviser, Rice in 2016 had requested to “unmask” the identities of certain Americans identified in intelligence reports who had been intercepted speaking with foreign sources — and were linked to Donald Trump’s campaign and presidential transition team.
Rice’s appointment increases the number of Netflix’s board members to 11 — and she becomes the company’s fourth female board member. In January, Netflix named Rodolphe Belmer, former CEO of Canal Plus Group, to the board.
The other Netflix directors are: Reed Hastings; 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, former Disney exec; and Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer, Microsoft.
Rice served as a key adviser to President Obama during his two terms in office. From 2013-17, she headed the National Security Council staff, providing daily national security briefing to President Obama. Before that, she was the U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N. from 2009-13 and served as a member of Obama’s cabinet.
Previously, during President Bill Clinton’s second term, Rice was U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and was a member of the National Security Council staff. She was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution from 2002-08.
Rice began her career as a management consultant with McKinsey and Co. She has served on several boards, including those for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Bureau of National Affairs, National Democratic Institute, and the US Fund for UNICEF. The Washington, D.C., native is married to former ABC News executive producer Ian Cameron, and the couple have two children.
Rice’s appointment to the Netflix board was effective March 26. She has not yet been appointed to serve on any board committees.