As the company's CEO, Reed Hastings is easily the most recognizable executive at Neflix. But few people have played a larger role in steering Netflix's course than chief content officer Ted Sarandos. The Los Angeles Times has published a detailed portrait of the man who has overseen the streaming service's aggressive push into original programming. Recruited by Hastings himself in 2000 — back when Netflix was strictly a DVD-by-mail service — Sarandos began his tenure with smaller changes. He pushed studios to make less flimsy DVDs so they'd hold up to the mailing process, for instance.

But it wasn't long before Sarandos recognized the tidal shift to online streaming. In the years since, Netflix has done things its own way. The company committed to two seasons of House of Cards (funded by a $100 million budget) without ever seeing a pilot. And it famously refuses to discuss ratings or firm viewership data. Sarandos is often the person pushing away from that conventional industry thinking. "Overnight ratings work against quality on television," he told the Times. "That's why I don't want to adopt the one convention that I think is anti-quality."