This week I’ve been profiling the 5 worst CEOs of 2011. I think readers may quibble with the order I’ve put them into, and perhaps are wondering why some leaders have yet to appear, but it’s hard to imagine not including Reed Hastings near the top (or the bottom) of the list. What a year for the wonderboy of content delivery.
The outline of the story is well-known. Netflix announced they are splitting the company into two – the more traditional DVD mail order business, and the newer online streaming business. This to better serve customers, or something like that. At the same time, Netflix announces different customer interfaces, different websites, and – this was the killer – much higher prices. Instantly Netflix goes from being the darling of the entertainment business, beloved by customers for building such a reliable and useful platform for watching movies at home, to just another giant corporate ogre, ripping off customers as fast as they can.
Never mind that Hastings backtracked a little, issued an apology or three, and launched a new communications effort to win back customers. In this case, the damage has been done, and he did it. Stock price down around 70% in 2011, a performance good enough for 2nd place in the Worst CEOs of 2011.
The countdown ends tomorrow on my blog with the #1 Worst CEO of the Year. You’ll want to call and tell people, if you have service.