Former Netflix CPO Donates Millions To Support Diversity For Future Tech Leadership

Neil Hunt Netflix.jpg

The Forbes annual Billionaire list is an indicator of the companies and people are successful globally, and more generally the industries that are booming. In the first ever Forbes Billionaire list, in 1987, CEOs in real estate, manufacturing and retail dominated the list– with not one technology founder featuring.

Fast-forward to thelatest list, in March this year, and half of the top ten richest billionaires in the world are tied to the technology industry, such as Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. This dramatic change over the last three decades depicts the massive digital transformation that virtually all industries have undergone, and the now importance and value of the technology industry as a whole.

One thing that hasn’t dramatically changed over the last 30 years, however, is the representation of women in this list. Female billionaires are scarce. In the technology industry in fact, not one of the top 50 richest people are women, and only 4 women feature in the top 100 – a dire statistic. This is just a representation of a wider systemic issue in the technology industry, in which, according to a PwC report only 5% of leadership positions in the technology sector are held by women.

Today In: Leadership

Dr Neil Hunt, the former Chief Product Officer of Netflix, graduated with a Computer Science (CS) degree from Durham University, one of the U.K.’s leading Universities in 1985 – two years before the Forbes Billionaire list was created. Working in the technology industry since then, Neil has seen the dramatic boom in technology across all industries, and the expansion of large tech firms – including, of course, Netflix, whose flourishing subscription-based streaming service no longer relies on the U.S. Postal Service for the delivery of DVDs, consuming an estimated 15% of the world’s internet bandwidth streaming video to over 150 million users.

Something Neil Hunt hasn’t witnessed in the tech sector is a commensurate rise in the number of women, and diversity more generally – especially in leadership positions. In fact, he says that, “when recruiting, I found the pool of talent, especially at senior levels, to have been thinned by the adverse experiences of women and minorities throughout their careers.” (read more)

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