Netflix Leadership: an overview

By John Dudovskiy
September 18, 2023

Co-founder Reed Hastings had the helm of Netflix leadership as the CEO for a quarter century until he stepped down early in 2023. Hastings practiced unconventional and effective leadership practices such as providing context instead of directions, offering straightforward feedback and paying people more than they expect.

Under Reed Hastings, leadership at Netfix largely boiled down to hiring and retaining top talent and remaining innovative largely because of the company’s commitment to hiring high performers, giving them lots of transparency and freedom, and avoiding imposing rules that might get in their way.

Currently, there are two Co-Chief Executive Officers – Ted Sarandos and Greg Peters. Sarandos had led Netflix’s Hollywood business for many years and Peters has managed advertising business of the the streaming service.  The rationale behind having two CEOs relates to benefiting from the shared expertise of the two executives. There are cases such as Oracle, Salesforce and Atlassian where companies thrived under joint CEOs.


Netflix Leadership

Netflix co-CEOs Ted Sarandos (right) and Greg Peters


At the same time, having two CEOs managing a company can involve certain challenges such as blurring the line of responsibility, lack of speed of decision making and high potential of ego issues and others. These are valid reasons why majority of companies have lone leaders. Moreover, many business analysts and practitioners argue that joint CEOs are only temporary measure mostly suitable only for start-ups.

However, to the credit of Netflix, co-founder and former CEO Reed Hastings has not left the company and he is serving as executive chairman. In case if major disagreements occur between Sarandos and Peters regarding strategic issues Hastings can always jump in with the final voice regarding the issue.

An interesting aspect of leadership at Netflix refers to the depth of information provided to board members and the level of engagement of the board members with the company, which is unprecedented. Board members periodically attend (in an observing capacity only) monthly and quarterly senior management meetings[1]. Also, the on-demand media provider provides online memos in narrative form for members of board of directors that not only include links to supporting analysis but also allow open access to all data and information on the company’s internal shared systems.

Netflix Inc. Report contains the above analysis of Netflix leadership. The report illustrates the application of the major analytical strategic frameworks in business studies such as SWOT, PESTEL, Porter’s Five Forces, Value Chain analysis, Ansoff Matrix and McKinsey 7S Model on Netflix. Moreover, the report contains analyses of Netflix business strategy, organizational structure and organizational culture. The report also comprises discussions of Netflix marketing strategy, ecosystem and addresses issues of corporate social responsibility.

Netflix Inc. Report

[1] Larcker, D. & Tayan, B. (2018) “Netflix Approach to Governance: Genuine Transparency with the Board” Stanford Closer Look Series

Category: Leadership