Netflix Adds African Telecom Mogul Strive Masiyiwa to Board of Directors

Strive Masiyiwa
Desiree Navarro/WireImage

Masiyiwa joins the streamer's board as Susan Rice, who will join President-elect Joe Biden's administration, leaves her post.

Netflix has tapped African billionaire and telecom mogul Strive Masiyiwa for its board of directors as board member Susan Rice prepares to exit her post.

"We are delighted to welcome Strive to the Netflix board," Netflix co-founder, chairman and co-CEO Reed Hastings said in a statement. "His entrepreneurship and vision in building businesses across Africa and beyond will bring valuable insights and experience to our board as we work to improve and serve more members all around the world."

Masiyiwa is the founder and executive chairman of Econet Global, the South Africa-based telecom group with business across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. His appointment signals the importance of international markets, including Africa, for Netflix as it looks to grow its subscriber base beyond the U.S. and Europe. "I'm thrilled to have Strive join our board as we expand more across Africa and the world," co-CEO Ted Sarandos said in a statement.

He joins as Rice plans to step down from the Netflix board in January. Rice, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and national security advisor to President Barack Obama, stepped down from the streamer's board on Dec. 10 after more than two years to accept a position as director of the White House Domestic Policy Council in the administration of President-elect Joe Biden.

Born in Zimbabwe and educated in the U.K., Masiyiwa, 59, founded Econet Global in 1998 to provide mobile phone services in Botswana and Zimbabwe. He sits on several other boards, including Unilever, National Geographic Society and Stanford University.

"Netflix is at the forefront of bringing great entertainment from anywhere in the world to everyone in the world, and I look forward to working with the board and all stakeholders to continue its traditions of innovation and growth," Masiyiwa said in a statement.

Dec. 18, 12 p.m. Updated to clarify details of Rice's departure.