Netflix announced on Thursday that chief marketing officer Kelly Bennett has decided to leave the company.
“Kelly Bennett has been absolutely transformational for us as we expanded our member base in the US and globally, and particularly as we transitioned into being a leader in original series and films,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in a statement. “He has been a source of inspiration both inside Netflix and in presenting our brand to the world, and we are thankful for his enormous contributions.”
Bennett joined Netflix in 2012 and has led the company’s marketing efforts as it grew from 26 million to more than 139 million paid members around the world. He’s been instrumental in helping to mold Netflix into the streaming giant that it is today, and pioneered the company’s campaigning approach to the launch of its original content.
Bennett will stay in his role for a transitional period until a new CMO is named.
“The past seven years have been the most rewarding of my professional life, and we are at the top of our game, which is why this was the right moment for me to retire,” Bennett. “I am immensely proud of the team we have built and all that has been accomplished during my time here — and I will continue to be Netflix’s greatest fan.”
Bennett’s departure is amicable, with him simply feeling like now was a good time to leave. He told Variety that he expects never to work full-time again, instead spending more time with his family and pursuing roles in the non-profit sector or teaching, and possibly serve on some boards.
Bennett joined Netflix from Warner Bros. in the wake of the streamer’s Qwikster debacle in 2011, and a widely criticized price hike. He took over from Leslie Kilgore, who stepped down at the time amid a public relations team shakeup.
Bennett spent nine years at Warner Bros. where he led the international online campaigns for the “Happy Potter,” franchise and “The Dark Knight Rises.”
He began at Netflix during a pivotal time for the company, which was on the verge of dipping its toes into original series with “House of Cards” in 2013.