Netflix Inc. the company at the forefront of remaking entertainment, promoted the architect of its programming strategy to the role of co-chief executive as it reported that the shelter-in-place world garnered it another 10.1 million subscribers in the second quarter. The elevation of Ted Sarandos, 55 years old, to the role of co-CEO puts him in position to eventually succeed Netflix Chairman and Chief Executive Reed Hastings, 59.  “This change makes formal what was already informal—that Ted and I share the leadership of Netflix,” Mr. Hastings said in a letter to shareholders.

Hastings said the day-to-day operations of the company will not change. “Think of Ted’s well-deserved promotion formalizing how we already run the business today,” Hastings said. Sarandos helped push Netflix to create and then ramp up its original TV shows and movies, such as “Stranger Things,” “Orange Is the New Black” and “The Irishman.” That’s helped cement his legacy as one of the most powerful people in Hollywood.

Netflix has gained more than 26 million subscribers in the last two quarters, helped by a thirst for entertainment when sports and most content production have been shut down. The 10.1 million net new subscribers it reported Thursday surpassed the 7.5 million Netflix had projected for the second quarter earlier this year. But the increase was less than the company’s gain for the first quarter, when it added about 16 million customers as economies and people began locking down amid the spread of the coronavirus.

The appointment of Mr. Sarandos is indicative of the integral role he has played in Netflix’s meteoric growth over the last decade. As chief content officer, he has been the architect of the streaming service’s hugely successful original-programming strategy. Not only has Netflix become the most prolific producer of content, it is also a regular contender for Academy and Emmy awards.

Todd Horwitz Chief Strategist
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Mini Micro Futures Portfolio Management Recording