Facebook announced that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings will not seek reelection to its board of directors this year, at a time when the social media company is investing more in video. The company announced that another board member—Erskine Bowles, the president emeritus of the University of North Carolina—will also leave, while the board has nominated Peggy Alford, a senior vice president at PayPal, as a new member. Ms. Alford previously worked as an executive at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the philanthropic organization co-founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
A person close to Mr. Hastings said he was leaving because of his schedule and the awkwardness stemming from Facebook’s growing investments in video initiatives. Still, it isn’t like Facebook has mounted anything like a video subscription service loaded with original content, which truly would present a conflict. In contrast, Disney CEO Robert Iger said on Thursday that he has no plans to step down from Apple’s board, even though his company this week unveiled details of a streaming service that will compete with one from Apple.
Other factors could be at play in Mr. Hastings’ departure. Perhaps he grew weary of the constant tumult at Facebook over privacy and other missteps. In 2016, Mr. Hastings also had a run-in with Peter Thiel, a conservative member of Facebook’s board, over Mr. Thiel’s support for then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. At the time, Mr. Hastings, a supporter of Hillary Clinton, said in an email that he would negatively evaluate Mr. Thiel’s board performance because of the political endorsement. Mr. Hastings offered his resignation to Mr. Zuckerberg after the story came to light, which the Facebook CEO declined, The Wall Street Journal reported last year.