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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings leaves Facebook board

Facebook's focus on video is likely to compete directly with Netflix.

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MUMBAI: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who had been on Facebook’s board since 2011, will not run for re-election at the company’s annual shareholder meeting, which is scheduled for 30 May. The social media giant had announced his departure on Friday afternoon, according to reports.

Also, former White House chief of staff Erskine B Bowles, who is also president emeritus of the University of North Carolina, who has been a board member since 2011 as well, will also be stepping down from Facebook’s board at the same time.

As per the reports, Hastings’ departure in particular is not a huge surprise to industry observers. As Facebook is increasing focus on its video side, it is poised to directly compete with Netflix among a growing pool of content buyers. Then again, this type of competition doesn’t always rule out board seats. Disney CEO Bob Iger said this week that he would continue to serve on Apple’s board, even as the two companies compete for customers for their respective streaming services.

Facebook has nominated Peggy Alford, a senior Paypal executive, as one of its new directors. Alford, who would be the first African-American woman on the company’s board, has been in Facebook’s orbit for some time: Before rejoining Paypal in March, she served as the chief financial officer for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropic organization.

Zuckerberg said in a statement, “Peggy is one of those rare people who’s an expert across many different areas- from business management to finance operations to product development. I know she will have great ideas that help us address both the opportunities and challenges facing our company.”

"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,” added Alford. “I look forward to working with Mark and the other directors as the company builds new and inspiring ways to help people connect and build community.”

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