Reed Hastings will transition from CEO of Netflix, the company he co-founded some 25 years ago, to executive chairman, according to a blog post from the company on Thursday.
“I’m so proud of our first 25 years, and so excited about our next quarter of a century. We can do so much more to better entertain the world and deliver more joy to our members,” he wrote in the post.
Hastings was co-CEO along with Ted Sarandos. Former Chief Operating Officer Greg Peters will now be Sarandos’ fellow co-CEO.
Hastings and Marc Randolph started brainstorming about their company in 1997, toying with the idea of competing with Blockbuster, but with DVDs, and delivering them by mail. The company went live in 1998.
Hastings was responsible for an array of strategic decisions that made the company the giant that it is today, per The Hollywood Reporter. Netflix went public in 2002 (at under $1 a share) and introduced streaming in 2007. Netflix reported some $7.85 billion in revenue in Q4, per CNBC.
Hastings wrote in the blog post that the transition has been happening behind the scenes for some time. Sarandos became his co-CEO in July 2020, and along with then COO Peters, the duo increasingly began to manage more of the company.
Hasting said Sarandos taking reins during the pandemic was a “baptism by fire,” but that the company needs to continue to develop “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 wrote.
Netflix enjoyed a boom at the beginning of the stay-at-home era but saw layoffs and drops in subscribers in 2022, as well as a much-depressed share price.
“I’ll be serving as Executive Chairman, a role that founders often take (Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, etc.) after they pass the CEO baton to others,” Hastings wrote. “Even founders need to evolve.”