Netflix CEO and Co-Founder Reed Hastings is stepping down as the company grows into a new era for Streaming. Hastings will be replaced by Co-CEO Ted Sarandos and Greg Peters. The move comes after an up and down year for the company which saw the 2022 start with the first notable subscriber loss in the company’s history followed by a strong gain to close the year. Hastings pushed Netflix to be HBO before HBO could become Netflix and has helped chart a way forward by launching the ad-supported tier and Netflix’s first of its kind original programming that became the defining characteristic of all of the premium streaming services that followed. The company added 7.66 million subscribers in the final quarter of 2022, easily topping the 4.5 million average estimate of Wall Street analysts.
“Our board has been discussing succession planning for many years (even founders need to evolve!),” Hastings said in a blog post. “The board and I believe it’s the right time to complete my succession.”
Hastings could be said to be the father of streaming. Netflix was the first company to popularise instant streaming on-demand before Amazon Prime was a glint in Jeff Bezo’s eye. He swept into Hollywood getting contracts to stream programming that the studios felt they could not give away anymore and showed the entire TV industry the value of legacy products like Friends, The Office and 30 Rock while also helping shows like the rebooted Dr. Who gain a foothold even helping make a star of Benedict Cumberbatch via its run of the BBC show Sherlock. Under his leadership Netflix became the place to see up-and-coming shows that had been gaining cult followings like The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad before getting full mainstream success.
The new leadership, which is really just a transition of titles has a strong base to build on going forward. Hastings, 62, will serve as executive chairman of the company.