While viewers (and Netflix stockholders) eagerly await the next hit series to follow Bridgerton, The Queen's Gambit and Lupin, it's fast approaching a year since Netflix's CEO Reed Hastings appointed Ted Sarandos as his co-CEO—and the company is stronger than ever. This dynamic duo is upending one of the vestiges of traditional leadership thought: that there can only be one Caesar in the C-Suite.
"A body with two heads is in the social (as in the animal sphere) a monster, and has difficulty in surviving," is how the Frenchman Henri Fayol, one of the founders of modern management, put it. It slows decision-making, even leading to paralysis. It leaves employees without a clear idea of who they should deal with. It leaves the board unsure who to hold accountable. And so the objections go on.
That sentiment not only holds across corporate America, but also in the usually disruptive technology sector. When venture capitalists look at our cards and see "co-CEO," we often get quips like, "So you haven't picked yet?"
David Brown, co-founder of one of the leading incubators, TechStars, sums up this sentiment, writing: "We've been very vocal about why having two CEOs at the helm of any company is generally a bad idea." He also points to their rarity, challenging: "Can you name a single company with $10 million in sales that has two CEOs?"
Yes. Netflix. And Oracle, until Mark Hurd pass away. And Harry's, the online shaving company.