Netflix co-founder Hastings steps down as CEO as company adds subscribers

By Lisa Richwine and Dawn Chmielewski LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Netflix Inc co-founder Reed Hastings said on Thursday he will step down as chief executive, handing the

reins of the streaming service to longtime partner and co-CEO Ted Sarandos and the company's chief operating officer, Greg Peters. Shares of the company, which had fallen

nearly 38% in the past year, rose 6.1% to $335.05 in after-hours trading as the streaming video pioneer also said it had picked up more subscribers than expected at the end of

last year. Netflix has been under pressure after losing customers in the first half of 2022. Sarandos and Peters will share the title of chief executives, with

Hastings serving as executive chairman. The change is effective immediately, representing the culmination of a decade of succession planning by the board. Both Peters and Sarandos

were promoted in July 2020 amid a challenging time for the company. "It was a baptism by fire, given Covid and recent challenges within our business," Hastings said in a

statement. "But they've both managed incredibly well ... so the board and I believe it's the right time to compete my succession." Hastings made his exit as Netflix said it

added 7.66 million subscribers in the fourth quarter, beating Wall Street forecasts of 4.57 million with help from "Harry & Meghan" and "Wednesday" in the battle to attract

streaming television viewers. Earnings per share, however, came in at 12 cents, below the 45 cents expected by analysts polled by Refinitiv. Netflix projected "modest"

gains in subscribers through March. It forecast 4% year-over-year growth in revenue during the period with the help of new revenue streams.