Facebook announced today that Reed Hastings, chairman and chief executive officer of Netflix, has joined the company’s board of directors. In addition to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Hastings joins current Facebook board members Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz, Jim Breyer of Accel Partners, Donald E. Graham, chairman and CEO of The Washington Post Company, as well as Peter Thiel of Clarium Capital and Founders Fund.
Hastings cofounded Netflix, the world's biggest Internet subscription service for movies and TV shows with more than 23 million members in the US and Canada, with Marc Randolph in 1997. Prior to that, Hastings founded Pure Atria Software, where he was CEO until the company was acquired by Rational Software Corporation in 1997.
Since 2007, Hastings has also been a member of Microsoft's board of directors, and we know very well that Microsoft is a key Facebook investor. He holds an M.S.C.S. degree from Stanford University and a B.A. from Bowdoin College.
"Reed is an entrepreneur and technologist who has led Netflix to transform the way people watch movies and TV," Zuckerberg said in a statement. "He has built a culture of continuous rapid innovation, something we share and work hard to build every day."
"Facebook is propelling a fundamental change in how people connect with each other and share all kinds of content," Hastings said in a statement. "I'm looking forward to working with Mark and the rest of the board to help Facebook take advantage of all the opportunities ahead."
For Facebook, Hastings is a good addition because the company is going public next year, possibly as soon as Q1 2012. To do so, the company will have to have an initial public offering (IPO), and since Hastings successfully managed Netflix through the IPO process, his guidance will be helpful.
For Netflix, Hastings' positioning will be useful as the streaming giant wants to make its platform much more social. With almost 700 million users, Facebook can help Netflix achieve that goal.