LOS GATOS: Netflix has raided Facebook and hired Rachel Whetstone as a chief communications officer.
Whetstone will report into Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and have six direct reports and an overall global communications team of a “few dozens,” according to a Netflix spokesperson.
Her brief encompasses corporate communications, reputation, telling the Netflix story, and overall messaging for the company. Netflix does not retain a PR agency of record, rather using firms on a project-by-project basis.
Whetstone joins the company after a year at Facebook, latterly as VP of corporate comms. Her portfolio at the social media company initially included WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger, but was expanded to a lead corporate comms role earlier this year.
Whetstone’s exit from Facebook to Netflix comes despite her being tipped as a contender to replace the outgoing VP of global communications Elliot Schrage, who stepped down in June.
Facebook is facing overlapping crises of fake news and data security, long-standing issues that resurfaced in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Prior to Facebook, Whetstone led comms and policy at Uber, a two-year tenure marked by continually bad press for the company and ousted CEO Travis Kalanick.
Whetstone reportedly butted heads with Kalanick on numerous occasions, saying Uber needed to grow up. Meanwhile, the company grappled with workplace issues and entanglements with the law, per The New York Times. Eventually, Kalanick resigned and was replaced by Dara Khosrowshahi, former CEO of Expedia.
Before Uber, Whetstone served at Google as SVP of communications and public policy. She worked at the Alphabet company from 2010 to 2015.
Netflix parted ways with previous CCO Jonathan Friedland in June after employees reported an incident in which the former comms chief used the N-word.