Reed Hastings to depart Facebook’s board as competition with Netflix heats up

Facebook is shaking up its board.

On Friday, the company announced that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings will not be up for reelection for his role as a director on Facebook’s board. The move comes as Facebook is investing more in original video content, potentially competing directly with Netflix. Hastings has served on the board since 2011.

Facebook is reportedly spending around $1 billion on original programming and content deals for Facebook Watch, the video platform it launched in August 2018.

Its original video content ranges from Jada Pinkett Smith’s popular talk show “Red Table Talk” to the drama series “Sorry For Your Loss” starring Elizabeth Olsen. In February, the social media giant announced several new shows, including a reimagined version of reality show “The Real World,” in partnership with MTV. It also hosts YouTube-like shows from content creators.

At a time when the company is grappling with the spread of controversial content on its core Facebook platform, including election misinformation, anti-vaccination content, and hate speech, its content creation efforts appear to be something of a bright spot. It announced in December that 400 million viewers watch at least one video on Facebook’s Watch platform every month.

Hastings was one part of broader changes to the company’s board. Facebook said that Erskine Bowles, who has been on the board since 2011, would not be up for reelection. Facebook has also nominated Peggy Alford, an executive at PayPal, to join.

Alford would be the first African American woman on the board, and the second African American overall. Former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault joined last year amid pressure from activists to add black representation to the all-white board.

Alford previously worked at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the philanthropic organization owned by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, before rejoining PayPal in March 2019. She previously worked at PayPal in various senior roles from 2011 to 2017.

“What excites me about the opportunity to join Facebook’s board is the company’s drive and desire to face hard issues head-on while continuing to improve on the amazing connection experiences they have built over the years,” Alford said in a statement.

Alford’s nomination will be voted on at the company’s upcoming annual stockholder meeting on May 30.