Netflix Hires Verna Myers as Head of "Inclusion Strategy"

Verna Myers - Publicity - H 2018
Laurie Bell Bishop

Myers, a diversity consultant, joins the streamer after the recent firing of its PR chief over the use of the N-word in a meeting.

With diversity an industry buzzword, Netflix has hired veteran culture expert Verna Myers as vp of "inclusion strategy."

In the newly created role, Myers is charged with including "cultural diversity, inclusion and equity" into Netflix’s fast-growing operations worldwide, according to Wednesday's announcement.

The move follows Netflix firing its top communications spokesman, Jonathan Friedland, after "insensitive" remarks he made to his team, which included the use of the N-word. Friedland was let go in June for "his descriptive use of the N-word on at least two occasions at work," according to an internal memo from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. The streaming giant hired top Facebook executive Rachel Whetstone as his replacement.

"Having worked closely with Verna as a consultant on a range of organizational issues, we are thrilled that she has agreed to bring her talents to this new and important role,” Jessica Neal, Netflix's chief talent officer, said in a statement.

Most Netflix subscribers are already outside the U.S. market, and that global gap is only widening as it brings its disruptive business model into new markets.

Myers heads up The Verna Myers Company, which advises major corporations and organizations on removing barriers based on race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation in the workplace. Her hire comes as Netflix continues to staff up for an ongoing global expansion.

"I have been a longtime fan of the inclusive and diverse programming and talent at Netflix, and then I got a chance to meet the people behind the screen. I was so impressed by their mission, their excellence, and decision to take their inclusion and diversity efforts to a higher level," Myers said in her own statement.