Netflix has appointed Zimbabwean billionaire Strive Masiyiwa to its board of directors, making him the first African and the third international media executive to join the streaming giant’s board in recent years. His appointment comes weeks after former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice said she was quitting her role on the board to join president-elect Joe Biden’s administration.
“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.”
The Zimbabwean business mogul joins the board with a wealth of experience from Africa and abroad. He serves on a number of international boards such as Unilever, National Geographic Society and Asia Society and the global advisory boards of Bank of America, the Council on Foreign Relations in the U.S., Stanford University and the Prince of Wales Trust for Africa.
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“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.
Masiyiwa is the founder and chair of the Econet Group, a Zimbabwe-listed mobile phone company. He also owns just over half of private company Liquid Telecom, which provides fiber optic and satellite services to telecom firms across Africa. Forbes estimates Masiyiwa’s net worth at $1.1 billion.
Masiyiwa is also a prolific philanthropist. He founded the Higherlife Foundation together with his wife, Tsitsi. The foundation pays the school fees of some 40,000 orphaned or low-income students in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Burundi and Lesotho.
The telecoms magnate is also at the helm of the Ambassador Andrew Young Scholarship, which enables African students to attend the Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, US.
Masiyiwa was named one of Time Magazine Most Influential Person in 2002. In 2014, he was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. He is a friend to many world leaders, often spearheading conferences. Masiyiwa one of Africa’s most influential figures and a champion for technology and young people.