Netflix Removes Kilgore From CMO Role


After a disastrous pricing change last year that led to the loss of hundreds of thousands of subscribers, Netflix announced Friday that Leslie Kilgore -- its chief marketing officer for 12 years -- will no longer serve as CMO but will join the company's board as a non-executive director.

The movie-rental company said Jessie Becker, previously vice president of marketing, will serve as interim CMO while it searches for a permanent replacement. Netflix also elevated Jonathan Friedland, previously vice president of global corporate communications, to the position of chief communications officer.

"Leslie has been instrumental in our long-term success and our recent return to solid growth," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in announcing the changes. "We are delighted she is joining our board of directors and will continue to be a key part of Netflix."

Becker and Friedland both will report to Hastings.

In the third quarter of 2011, Netflix lost a higher-than-expected 800,000 U.S. subscribers after eliminating bundled DVD-plus-streaming plans -- which increased monthly fees for many customers as much as 60%. Netflix expects to lose at least 2.6 million DVD accounts in the fourth quarter, and has forecast that it will post a net loss for 2012.

Kilgore joined Netflix in 2000 as CMO after holding various positions at, Procter & Gamble and Booz Allen and Hamilton. Becker, who has been with the company 11 years, previously worked for and Oracle.

Friedland joined Netflix in February 2011 from The Walt Disney Co., where he was senior vice president of corporate communications, and prior to that spent more than 20 years as a foreign correspondent and editor mainly with The Wall Street Journal.

In the U.S., Netflix previously said it anticipated closing out 2011 with 20.0 million to 21.5 million streaming subscriptions and 10.3 million to 11.3 million DVD subscriptions. That's compared with 21.5 million streaming and 13.93 million DVD subscribers at the end of September. Internationally, Netflix expects to have 1.6 million to 2.0 million subs (all streaming, as it does not offer DVDs-by-mail services outside the U.S.).