Meet the power players at Netflix leading the streaming giant’s defense against Disney and other rivals

Bill Holmes — head of business development

Holmes is the executive cutting deals between Netflix and companies like Comcast and Airtel, to make the streaming service available through more providers and included in more TV and wireless bundles. It “allows us to access a subscriber base that might be a little bit slower in signing up directly with us for Netflix,” as Netflix’s chief product officer, Greg Peters, said on a recent earnings call.

Holmes, who joined Netflix in 2008, has been focused on building those partnerships with wireless providers like Airtel in emerging markets like India, where wireless data is cheap and Netflix is still building its reputation.

Caitlin Smallwood — vice president of data science and engineering

Smallwood, who has been at Netflix for nine years, oversees machine learning at the streaming service. The company uses algorithms to recommend titles to users, improve video streams, analyze its catalog and where it should be investing, and aid studio production, among other areas.

Everything for Smallwood right now is about using machine learning to help scale the service, as it expands more people around the world.

Before Netflix, Smallwood worked at companies including Intuit and Yahoo.

Adrien Lanusse — vice president of consumer insights

Where would Netflix be without its data? Adrien Lanusse, who joined Netflix in 2010, uses the company’s internal data and conducts market research to understand how people use the service around the world.

He uses the research to learn what features people want out of the service, like the ability to download titles to a device and watch them offline, and to tailor Netflix to local audiences, by understanding the cultural nuances that affect our reactions to things like dubbing and subtitling.

Before Netflix, Lanusse worked in multicultural research and consumer behavior.

Cameron Johnson — director of product innovation, TV

Johnson is focused on improving the user experience for Netflix on TV sets, where most Netflix viewing happens. He previously oversaw the mobile experience and introduced features like vertical-video trailers and automatic episode downloads. Prior to that, he led product innovation for the web experience, where he nixed the platform’s old five-star ratings system.

Johnson joined Netflix from Yahoo, and has served as mayor of the California city of San Carlos while working at the streaming company.

David Hyman — general counsel

Netflix’s longtime general counsel David Hyman, who has held the role since 2002, oversees legal and public policy at Netflix. He reviews the company’s licensing and talent deals, an acquired skill set that Netflix recently opened a production legal lab to train young lawyers for; lawsuits like the recent plagiarism case against the creators of “Stranger Things;” and helps the company navigate the legal waters abroad.

Hyman, a Washington, DC native, cut his teeth as general counsel during the dotcom bust at a failing online grocer, Webvan, before landing the Netflix job in 2002. He joined the company as it was preparing to go public.

Jessica Neal — chief talent officer

Jessica Neal, another Netflix veteran, leads the company’s culture, recruiting, and human resources efforts for its 7,100 employees around the world. She’s held the role of chief talent officer since 2017.

In a 2018 Wall Street Journal report, Netflix was characterized as having a culture that’s blunt and transparent, almost to a fault.

“Usually people are very scared about feedback, but we try to make that part of our everyday way of working,” Neal said in an interview a few months before the Journal story hit. “We’re also a testing culture. We’re not afraid to fail; it’s all about learning. If we get down a path that we think is the wrong way, we can easily turn around and change it.”

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