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Netflix product chief exits after 18 years

Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt is leaving the subscription VOD service after nearly two decades, with the company’s talent boss also exiting.

Neil HuntNetflix Japan chief Greg Peters is replacing Hunt at the unit, which designs, builds and delivers the platform’s experience.

Meanwhile, chief talent officer Tawni Cranz is leaving the business to “pursue other interests”. She has been with Netflix since 2007.

Hunt (pictured) has been with Netflix since 1999, when it was a DVD rental company. He led the development of the firm’s SVOD service, which is now globally dominant and a major international commissioner.

While primarily a tech development executive, Hunt has worked closely with the Netflix commissioning team. On that front, he is best remembered for saying Amazon Prime’s £160 million (US$198.4 million) investment to secure the services of former Top Gear trio Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May was “wasn’t worth the money”.

His replacement has been with Netflix for nine years, holding various roles in the product and business development teams. He most recently launched Netflix’s Japanese service in September 2015, overseeing marketing, content licensing and original content creation in the territory since then.

“When I first met Greg nine years ago, I knew he was an especially gifted engineer and entrepreneur,” said Hunt. “I’m delighted to be leaving the Netflix product organisation in such great shape and in such good hands.”

“Neil has been an amazing leader who uniquely brings together analytical rigor, deep engineering chops, human warmth and a wry sense of humour,” said Peters. “I’ve been lucky to have him as my mentor.”

“Greg and Neil have collaborated through the years to make the Netflix experience all over the world absolutely incredible,” said Reed Hastings, Netflix co-founder and CEO. “I look forward to having Greg take on this role and to celebrate with Neil, our 100 millionth member.”

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, meanwhile, paid tribute to Cranz, saying she had “played a formative role in developing our business culture”.