Bozoma Saint John Joins Netflix as New CMO

Marketing heavy hitter succeeds Jackie Lee-Joe after just a year

Photo of Bozoma Saint John and the Netflix logo
Bozoma Saint John will start her new Netflix role full-time in August. Sources: Maya Darasaw, Netflix

Marketing powerhouse Bozoma Saint John is joining the streaming giant Netflix as chief marketing officer.

Saint John, who has developed a sterling reputation in the marketing world for her marketing work in media, entertainment and tech spaces, will start at Netflix in August. She’ll succeed Jackie Lee-Joe, Netflix’s current chief marketing officer, who only joined the streaming service from BBC Studios a year ago.

“I’m thrilled to join Netflix, especially at a time when storytelling is critical to our global, societal well-being,” Saint John said in a statement. “I feel honored to contribute my experience to an already dynamic legacy, and to continue driving engagement in the future.”

Lee-Joe is leaving the company for personal reasons, a company spokesperson said. In a statement, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said, “Everyone at Netflix is grateful for Jackie Lee-Joe’s contributions and we wish her all the best.”

“I’m so proud to have led this team and all that we have achieved together during such an extraordinary time, fostering conversations about our films and shows that  brought people together all around the world,” Lee-Joe said in a statement. “I wish everyone at Netflix all the very best.”

Saint John brings with her nearly 20 years of experience in marketing in industries ranging from digital music and entertainment to automotive and tech. Her most recent post was as CMO of Endeavor, where she oversaw all of the holding company’s marketing efforts and worked alongside its global marketing business that serves as an agency for a number of high-profile brands.

She’s also served as chief brand officer at Uber, head of consumer marketing for Apple Music and iTunes, and head of music and entertainment marketing group at Pepsi-Cola North America, to name only a few high-ranking positions.

Her arrival at Netflix comes at a crucial business moment for the streaming service, which is facing increased competition from deep-pocketed streaming competitors like HBO Max and Peacock as consumers in the U.S. struggle with the economic pressures of the ongoing pandemic, which has increased churn rates for subscription home entertainment.

Even without those concerns, Netflix’s ever-growing library of original and library programming must all be marketed in a way that drives new subscriptions and keeps subscribers hooked on the service, a task that few streaming executives have said is easy.

The streamer most recently said it had 182.9 million members, 70 million of them in the U.S. and Canada, and that it had seen a spike in subscriptions amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Bozoma Saint John is an exceptional marketer who understands how to drive conversations around popular culture better than almost anyone,” Sarandos said. “As we bring more great stories to our members around the world, she’ll define and lead our next exciting phase of creativity and connection with consumers.”

Saint John is also an outspoken advocate of improving representation in board rooms around the country, and has long called for better representation in tech and in corporate America.

“I am disturbed by the fact that there are less Black women in C-suite positions than there were five years ago,” she told Adweek in February. “That is really disturbing to me. The trend should be moving the other way. Why is it not? We are constantly paving these roads, we’re breaking these ceilings, we’re climbing these rungs, and why is it that we cannot still make any headway? That keeps me up at night. I want to solve that. I want to be a part of the solution.”

@kelseymsutton Kelsey Sutton is the streaming editor at Adweek, where she covers the business of streaming television.