Reed Hastings net worth: who is Netflix co-founder, why did he step down as CEO, and who will replace him?

Reed Hastings founded Netflix in 1997 with Marc Randolph

Reed Hastings has announced he is stepping down from his role as chief executive (Getty Images)Reed Hastings has announced he is stepping down from his role as chief executive (Getty Images)
Reed Hastings has announced he is stepping down from his role as chief executive (Getty Images)

Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings has announced that he is stepping down from his role as chief executive of Netflix.

Hastings was an early pioneer in the streaming business and founded the company in 1997 alongside American tech entrepreneur Marc Randolph.

Hastings’s announcement to leave the company comes after a big rise in subscriber numbers at the end of 2022.

Many analysts had expected the company to struggle amid the cost of living crisis, but Netflix added a further seven million new subscribers in 2022 - taking the total number to around 231 million across the globe.

But why has Reed Hastings stepped down from his role as co-chief executive of Netflix and who will replace him?

Here is everything you need to know.

Who is Reed Hastings?

Wilmot Reed Hastings Jr, better known as Reed Hastings, is an American billionaire businessman who is best known for being the co-founder of Netflix.

The 62-year-old was born in Boston, Massachusetts and educated at Bowdoin College in Brunswick where he studied mathematics and graduated with a bachelor’s degree. In 1988, he completed a masters degree in computer science at Stanford University, California.

After leaving university, Hastings became a software developer, and in 1991 he founded Pure Software which he sold in 1997 for a substantial profit.

Reed Hastings founded Netflix in 1997. (Getty Images)Reed Hastings founded Netflix in 1997. (Getty Images)
Reed Hastings founded Netflix in 1997. (Getty Images)

In 1997, Hastings teamed up with Marc Randolph to form a subscription-based movie rental service called Netflix. At the time DVDs were still fairly new to the market, but it was believed that they would travel well through the mail.

At first customers were allowed to rent a DVD for a seven day period, but by 1999 the company decided to incorporate a monthly subscription fee to rent an unlimited amount of DVDs.

The company enjoyed steady growth throughout the early 2000s and in 2007 it began to put in plans to form a streaming service. At first the streaming service was small and DVD rentals remained the main form of business.

In November 2010, Netflix began offering a standalone streaming service separate from DVD rentals. The business acquired the rights to shows such as Breaking Bad and quickly established itself as the number one streaming service in America.

Netflix soon began to expand to other parts of the world and in 2012 it was launched in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The platform has enjoyed sustained growth around the world since then and it is estimated to have 231 million subscribers across the globe.

Why has Reed Hastings stepped down as Netflix CEO?

Reed Hastings has announced his decision to step down as Netflix co-chief executive to help the company evolve. However, he still intends to remain with the company as executive chairman.

Hastings said in a statement: “ 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.

“Our board has been discussing succession plans for many years (even founders need to evolve). As part of that process we promoted Ted to CEO alongside me in July 2020 and Greg to Chief Operating Officer - and in the last two and a half years I’ve increasingly delegated the management of Netflix to them.”

The firm will now be run by Ted Sarandos and Greg Peters who were both already in senior positions within the company. He claims these are two members of the team that he can rely on in future years.

Hastings added: “Ted and Greg have developed great trust and respect for each other through their collective successes and failures. In addition, they can always be relied upon to put Netflix’s interest first. These qualities - combined with their complementary skills sets, deep knowledge of entertainment and technology and proven track record of Netflix - create a unique opportunity to deliver faster growth  and greater success long term with them as CEOs.”

What is Reed Hastings net worth?

According to Forbes, Reed Hastings is the 893rd richest person in the world and he has a net worth of around £2.7 billion.

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