Los Angeles: Netflix Inc. hired Facebook Inc. executive Rachel Whetstone as the company’s new chief communications officer, putting a Silicon Valley veteran in charge of the streaming service’s messaging as it grapples with regulators and competitors in 190 countries.
Whetstone has worked in communications at Google, Facebook and Uber, three companies that have faced controversy at home and abroad. She replaces Jonathan Friedland, who was fired after using a racially offensive term on more than one occasion. Friedland guided communications policy for Netflix as it rose to be one of the world’s most valuable entertainment companies. She starts in November.
Netflix, based in Los Gatos, California, made international experience a priority in seeking Friedland’s successor. More than 90 per cent of the company’s new customers hailed from outside the US in the most recent quarter. Its biggest challenges, in terms of growth and potential regulation, are likely to come from overseas. Europe has shown a renewed interest in regulating US technology giants, while Asia represents the largest potential market.
“Her deep knowledge and international expertise will be invaluable as we bring Netflix and its expanding line-up of original content to an increasingly global audience,” Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings said Monday in a statement.