Netflix founder Reed Hastings stepping down as co-CEO

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Netflix founder Reed Hastings announced Thursday that he will step down as co-CEO of the subscription streaming company and take on a new role as executive chairman. 

"Our board has been discussing succession planning for many years (even founders need to evolve!)," Hastings wrote in a letter released Thursday, noting that Ted Sarandos will remain co-CEO and the company's COO, Greg Peters, will be promoted to co-CEO. 

"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," Hastings added. "So the board and I believe it’s the right time to complete my succession."

Netflix had a bumpy year in 2022, losing subscribers in the first half of the year, but adding 7.66 million paid memberships in the fourth quarter, which outperformed expectations. The company ended 2022 with 231 million subscribers globally. 

ROME, ITALY – OCTOBER 08: Reed Hastings attends the Netflix & Mediaset partnership announcement in Rome, Italy.  (Ernesto S. Ruscio/Getty Images/Netflix / Getty Images)

The streaming service's stock has dropped nearly 40% over the past year, but has seen some gains in 2023. 

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
NFLXNETFLIX INC.315.78-10.55-3.23%

Netflix noted in a letter to shareholders released on Thursday that the company is developing "additional revenue streams," such as advertising and paid sharing. 

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A less expensive membership plan for $6.99 a month was released in November that has advertisements during movies and TV shows. The company also is cracking down on password sharing, which is expected to increase overall revenue in the coming year. 

In this photo iIllustration, the Netflix logo is seen on the screen of an iPhone in front of a computer screen showing a Netflix logo on February 13, 2019 in Paris, France.  (Chesnot/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Netflix's library of content was buoyed in the fourth quarter by the comedy series Wednesday, which is the third-most popular series ever on the platform, and Harry & Meghan, which is the second-most popular documentary series. 

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Hastings founded Netflix in 1997 and oversaw its transition from a rental-by-mail service to a massive subscription streaming platform churning out original programming. 

"For myself, I’ll be helping Greg and Ted, and, like any good Chairman, be a bridge from the board to our co-CEOs. I’ll also be spending more time on philanthropy, and remain very focused on Netflix stock doing well," Hastings wrote on Thursday. 

Reuters contributed to this report. 

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