Facebook adds Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to board in advance of IPO
In a sign that Facebook is seriously preparing for what some anticipate will be a $100-billion initial public offering next year, the social networking company said Thursday that it has added Reed Hastings, Netflix's chairman and chief executive officer, to its board of directors.
Hastings, who guided his company through an IPO in 2002, should be a real asset to the Palo Alto company in navigating the process. Hastings also sits on the board of Microsoft, which made a significant investment in Facebook.
"Reed is an entrepreneur and technologist who has led Netflix to transform the way people watch movies and TV," said Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook. "He has built a culture of continuous rapid innovation, something we share and work hard to build every day."
The board seat is a coup for Netflix, which has been slow to embrace the social evolution of the Web. It is working on what it calls a substantial Facebook integration for its more than 23 million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada. It canceled a previous effort.
Hastings could also help Facebook figure out how to tap into Hollywood. Facebook is said to be planning to debut a music streaming service this summer and has been exploring what role it can play in delivering other media such as movies to users.
In March, Warner Bros. launched an application allowing users to rent and watch movies directly on Facebook, starting with "The Dark Knight."
"Facebook is propelling a fundamental change in how people connect with each other and share all kinds of content," said Hastings. "I'm looking forward to working with Mark and the rest of the board to help Facebook take advantage of all the opportunities ahead."
-- Jessica Guynn
Photo: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. Photo credit: Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg.