January 23, 2012, 11:11 AM

Netflix loses its chief marketing officer

Leslie Kilgore is out of day-to-day management but joins the board.

Allison Enright

Editor

Lead Photo

Reed Hastings

Netflix Inc., the rental and streaming video service that’s been struggling since it split services and raised prices last year, announced late Friday that chief marketing officer Leslie Kilgore had left her position. The retailer did not give a reason for Kilgore’s departure.

Netflix said in October it had lost 3.3% of its domestic subscriber base during the third quarter. The company’s stock plummeted 44.2% to about $74 per share the next day after having reached an all-time high in July of more than $300 per share. It is trading for about $96 today. The retailer, No. 13 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide, has since sought to raise $400 million in capital to sustain operations, and has cut the salaries of executives, including Kilgore.

Her annual salary was reduced from $802,000 to $575,000, according to a December filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The retailer announces its Q4 2011 earnings Wednesday.

Reed Hastings, Netflix co-founder and CEO, praised Kilgore’s work in a statement. "Leslie has been instrumental in our long-term success and our recent return to solid growth," he said. "We are delighted she is joining our board of directors and will continue to be a key part of Netflix."

Kilgore joined Netflix as chief marketing officer in 2000, when the retailer was a fraction of the size it is now. As Hastings notes, she has not cut all ties with the retailer. Hastings says Kilgore will join the Netflix board as a non-executive director.

Netflix says its vice president of marketing, Jessie Becker, will serve as interim chief marketing officer. She has worked for the company for 11 years in a variety of marketing jobs. The retailer also named Jonathan Friedland to the role of chief communications officer. He previously was vice president of global corporate communications.

Comments | 1 Response

  • Netflix has made so many marketing mistakes in the past 2 years, it's level of success is purely in spite of itself. It used to be when you searched for a title on instant streaming, it would show "DVD only" titles as well. It made it so that, even though the title wasn't on streaming, the user would at least know that they are keying in the right title and not available and they could begin to look for something else, and also it could've been a great moment to upsell to DVD by mail subscription... but no, let's take those titles out of the search. Hey, why don't we spin it off into a new company entirely! And while we're at it, how about only allowing users to browse about 70 titles in 9 categories they can't control? That will be awesome!

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