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Netflix Hires Ghanaian-American Businesswoman, Bozoma Saint John as Chief Marketing Officer

Netflix has tapped marketing veteran Bozoma Saint John, a former senior exec at Apple, Uber and most recently Endeavor, as its new CMO, the company announced.

Saint John is Netflix’s third chief marketing officer in less than a year. She replaces Jackie Lee-Joe, the one-time CMO of BBC Studios, who had only been at Netflix for 10 months. According to Netflix, Lee-Joe is exiting the streamer for personal reasons; she has been living in Australia with her family since March since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Lee-Joe had been named to succeed former Netflix CMO Kelly Bennett, who announced his retirement from the company last year.

Saint John will start at Netflix this August, reporting to chief content officer Ted Sarandos.

“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.”

Netflix boosted marketing spending 12% in 2019, to $2.65 billion, as it has faced new streaming entrants like Disney Plus and HBO Max — and needs to show Wall Street it can continue to grow its subscriber base. But the company’s marketing budget in Q1 of 2020 actually was 18% lower than the year prior.

In Saint John’s two years as CMO of Endeavor, which she joined in June 2018, she oversaw the holding company’s marketing efforts for divisions including WME, IMG, UFC, Professional Bull Riders and Miss Universe, and headed up its global marketing business that serves as an agency.

Prior to that, Saint John was chief brand officer at Uber for about a year, after serving as head of consumer marketing for Apple Music and iTunes for a little over three years. She had joined Beats by Dre in 2014, which Apple acquired shortly after she arrived. Previously, she was Pepsi-Cola North America’s head of music and entertainment marketing.

“Bozoma Saint John is an exceptional marketer who understands how to drive conversations around popular culture better than almost anyone,” Sarandos said in a statement. “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.”

Earlier in her career, Saint John served as VP of marketing for women’s fashion brand Ashley Stewart and managed accounts at ad agencies Arnold Worldwide and Spike Lee’s SpikeDDB. She holds a bachelor of arts degree from Wesleyan University in African-American studies and English.

During her stint at Apple, she appeared in an ad for Apple Music featuring James Corden and Apple execs Eddy Cue and Jimmy Iovine that aired during the 2016 Emmy Awards. At Apple, Saint John worked on campaigns including the ad for Taylor Swift’s workout wipeout and another starring Mary J. Blige, Kerry Washington and Taraji P. Henson — and took a memorable turn with her presentation at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in 2016 showing off the new Apple Music interface.

Bozoma “Boz” Saint John was born in Middletown, Conn., and spent her early childhood in Nairobi, Kenya, as well as Washington D.C., and Accra, Ghana, before her family moved to Colorado Springs, Colo., when she was 12 years old. After living in New York’s Harlem for over a decade, she now resides in Los Angeles.

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