Today, Peter Chernin is wrapping up his successful tenure as CEO of Fox and President/COO of News Corp. This past Friday the Hulu team hosted Peter at Hulu’s offices, where we said thank you to Peter for all that he has done related to Hulu. For those who aren’t aware, Peter Chernin, along with Jeff Zucker (CEO of NBC/Universal), are the two most important reasons why Hulu exists. Hulu, or to be precise, NewCo., started as a handshake agreement between those two leaders. Peter and Jeff became the nucleus of what was to become Hulu’s Board of Directors.
As I was considering what to say at our thank you session for Peter, it struck me how so many people across so many industries have such consistently high levels of respect for Peter. His teams respect him. His competitors respect him. His peers respect him. I suspect that Peter’s enemies, assuming he has some, even respect him.
But why do all these people respect Peter?
I can speak for Hulu and only Hulu in this respect. Peter once said that he learned long ago that it was never his or his teams’ job to protect existing businesses. Instead, the job was to maximize existing businesses while at the same time ensuring that seeds were planted and nourished for new businesses that could thrive in the future. So few leaders successfully pull off this combination which has defined Peter’s career to date. Why? For starters, planting seeds and nourishing those seeds is often hard, thankless work. The whole process takes way too much time for most leaders (3, 5 or even 10+ years). It is risky, uncertain and filled with a fair bit of failure. It is easy to criticize those who plant seeds, and there’s rarely any positive notoriety in those early stages. And yet Peter Chernin insists on planting seeds, because he knows that the rewards are atypically large over the long term for those who have the discipline to do so.
At Hulu, we recognize how lucky we are to have an uncommon leader like Peter Chernin associated with our crazy team. For the past two years, Peter has been making time to come over to our offices to help this company grow. He’s as comfortable coming over to our offices and sitting on the floor during a team meeting as he is with leading the charge at one of the top entertainment companies in the world. And on top of all that, Peter happens to be one of the truly “good” guys around.
Our respect and thanks to you as a leader, Peter. We look forward to sitting on the floor with you during various team wind-downs in the future.
In honor of Peter’s Fox & News Corp tenure, we decided to place Peter’s Hulu jersey in the Hulu Hall of Fame, which some others might call the wall of our lobby.
Peter sharing his thoughts with the team on the genesis and future of Hulu.
Celebrating Hulu-style, complete with plastic glasses and a cake whose appearance leads me to believe our CFO made it.
Peter Chernin (front row 3rd in from the right) and the company he and Jeff Zucker put into motion.