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Reed Hastings Steps Down as Netflix Co-CEO

Ted Sarandos and former COO Greg Peters named co-chief execs; Hastings to serve as executive chairman

Reed Hastings Netflix
Courtesy of Netflix

Reed Hastings, co-founder and co-CEO of Netflix, has stepped down as chief executive officer. He remains an employee of the company, serving as executive chairman of the board.

Ted Sarandos, co-CEO and formerly chief content officer, and Greg Peters, previously chief product officer and COO, will now serve jointly as co-CEOs. In addition, Netflix named Bela Bajaria, formerly head of global TV, to the position of chief content officer, while Scott Stuber, head of global films, has the new title of chairman of Netflix Film.

“Ted & Greg are now co-CEOs,” Hastings tweeted. “After 15 years together we have a great shorthand & I’m so confident in their leadership. Twice the heart, double the ability to please members & accelerate growth. Proud to serve as Executive Chairman for many years to come.”

The leadership shuffle came as Netflix reported fourth-quarter 2022 earnings Thursday — adding a net 7.7 million new subscribers, far more than the 4.5 million it previously forecast.

Hastings, in a blog post, said Netflix’s board has been discussing succession planning for several years. As part of that, in July 2020, the company promoted Sarandos to co-CEO alongside Hastings and also appointed Peters to the role of chief operating officer in addition to chief product officer.

Over the last two and a half years, according to Hastings, “I’ve increasingly delegated the management of Netflix” to Sarandos and Peters. He continued, “It was a baptism by fire, given COVID and recent challenges within our business. 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.”

Hastings praised Sarandos as having had “the early foresight and skill to push into original programming, changing our trajectory as a company,” and expanded into international originals, film, animation and unscripted programming. Peters has been “instrumental” in driving partnerships, building and launching Netflix’s first ad-supported plan, and leading its push into gaming, Hastings wrote.

Going forward, Hastings said, he will be “helping Greg and Ted, and, like any good chairman, be a bridge from the board to our co-CEOs.” He added, “I’ll also be spending more time on philanthropy, and remain very focused on Netflix stock doing well.”

Sarandos said in a statement, “I want to thank Reed for his visionary leadership, mentorship and friendship over the last 20 years. We’ve all learned so much from his intellectual rigor, honesty and willingness to take big bets — and we look forward to working with him for many more years to come.”

Peters commented: “I feel humbled and privileged to become co-CEO of Netflix. Ted and I have worked together for many years — building tremendous trust and respect for each other. We’re also motivated by the same goal: a desire to better serve our members so that we can continue to grow our business.”

Regarding the promotions of Bajaria and Stuber, Sarandos had this to say: “Bela and Scott are outstanding creative executives with proven track records at Netflix. In 2022 we premiered many of our most popular series and films in Netflix history, including ‘Wednesday,’ ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,’ ‘Purple Hearts,’ ‘Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,’ ‘The Adam Project’ and ‘Harry & Meghan’ — a testament to their leadership and creativity. I couldn’t be more excited to work alongside them as we seek to delight audiences for years to come.”

In stepping down as co-CEO, Hastings will take a huge pay cut: For 2023, as executive chairman, he’s eligible to receive a $500,000 base salary plus $2.5 million in stock options, according to a Netflix 8-K filing with the SEC. In the co-CEO role, he stood to make $34.7 million this year, mostly in stock.

Peters, meanwhile, will see his compensation package increase 44%, from as much as $24 million previously to up to $34.65 million as co-CEO ($3 million annual salary, $17.325 million in options and a $14.325 million performance-based target bonus).

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