Netflix has announced the appointment of Strive Masiyiwa, founder and chairman of telecom company Econet Group, to its board of directors; a move that signals the online streaming giant’s push for international expansion, including Africa, where it looks to grow its subscriber base.
Masiyiwa’s appointment to Netflix’s board comes a week after Susan Rice, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., announced that she was stepping down from the streamer’s board to join President-elect Joe Biden’s administration as of Jan. 20, 2021.
“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.”
Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos added, “I’m thrilled to have Strive join our board as we expand more across Africa and the world.”
Masiyiwa, in a statement provided by Netflix, said, “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, born in Zimbabwe and educated in the U.K, is Zimbabwe’s richest man – and only billionaire as of January 2020 – with an estimated fortune of $1.1 billion according to Forbes. In 1998, he founded Econet Global to provide mobile phone services in Botswana and Zimbabwe, and today, the telecoms company is one of the largest network providers in all of East Africa.
Today, Masiyiwa serves as Econet’s founder and executive chairman and he also sits on several other boards, including Unilever, National Geographic Society and Stanford University.