Cindy Holland, former Netflix executive responsible for green-lighting Stranger Things, has joined Elisabeth Murdoch and Jane Featherstone at their production company, Sister, the company announced in a press release on July 14. Holland is the new global CEO, following the departure of Stacey Snider, who held the role from the company’s founding in 2019 to May 2023. The former Netflix boss will determine the strategic direction of Sister and its portfolio companies, according to the release.
“Cindy has been a transformational leader in the industry for many years,” Murdoch said in a company note. “She’s the total package: strategic, curious and focused on impact. Cindy is exactly the person to help take us to the next level, and I’m really looking forward to working together.”
Holland, 43, joins the entertainment company after an 18-year tenure at Netflix, where she advanced to the role of vice president of original content, helping develop Netflix’s strategy for producing original films and television series. She also oversaw the teams that worked on some of the streaming platform’s biggest hits, including Orange is the New Black, Stranger Things, The Crown and The Queen’s Gambit. Holland left Netflix in 2020 and has since been working as an advisor to
Murdoch, Featherstone and Snider founded the company with the understanding that the rise in streaming translated to an increased demand for quality content, according to Variety. Succeeding in the changing media climate required industry leaders have a breadth of experience, close relationships and creative intuition, which the three founders had, they said in a press statement. Sister is responsible for producing HBO’s Chernobyl, the historical drama based on the 1986 nuclear plant disaster that has won 10 Emmy awards, including one for Outstanding Limited Series in 2019. It also produced HBO’s The Baby, Amazon Prime Video’s The Power and HBO’s Landscapers, among other projects. Since its launch, Sister has also acquired stakes in entertainment companies Dorothy Street Pictures and Richard Bacon’s Yes Yes Media. The production company is currently working on Good Grief, a romantic comedy film that will appear on Netflix and serves as Dan Levy’s debut as a director, and Kaos, a dark-comedy series coming to Netflix with roots in Greek mythology.
Featherstone and Murdoch previously worked together at Shine Group U.K., the production company Murdoch founded in 2001. Featherstone became the co-chairman in 2012 alongside Henrietta Conrad, the CEO of Princess Productions, which Shine acquired. Featherstone had previously been the CEO of Kudos, a production company which Shine had also purchased. Featherstone has known Holland for “a long time,” she said in the press release, though it is unclear how they met.
Who is Cindy Holland?
Holland began her career in independent films and television shows. She worked as the vice president of development at Spring Creek Productions from 1994 to 1998. In that time, the company produced Something to Talk About with Julia Roberts and Truman with Gary Sinise. She then worked as the head of acquisitions for Mutual Film Company, which produced Saving Private Ryan while she worked there. She joined Netflix in 2002 and spend nine of her 18 years there in a vice president role. Time listed her on its 100 most influential people list in 2018. She also serves as a board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles, a youth mentoring organization.
“The future is bright for well-positioned independent companies, and I love to build and support successful teams,” Holland said of joining Sister.
Who is Elisabeth Murdoch?
Murdoch, 54, is the daughter of Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul who owns News Corp and previously Fox. Early in her career, she worked at companies her father owned, including FX Networks and BSkyB. She walked away from the family business in 2000 to start Shine, where she served as chief executive. Her father acquired her production company a decade later through News Corp, and she left the company in 2014 following her father’s decision to merge it with other News Corp properties. The next year, she launched the Freelands Foundation, which works to provide art education across the U.K.
Murdoch has been widely involved in arts philanthropy throughout her career. She currently serves as a council member for Arts Council England, a government-funded group promoting arts in the country. She has also worked on the U.K. Film Council’s board and as a trustee to the Tate Gallery.
Who is Jane Featherstone?
Early in Featherstone’s career, she worked at Hat Trick Productions, which produced Whose Line Is It Anyway? She joined Kudos, a production company, as head of drama in 2000 and worked her way up to CEO by 2011. While there, she produced Utopia, Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes. In 2015, she opened her own production company, Sister Pictures, which would become Sister in 2019 with Murdoch and Snider on board.
Featherstone, 54, has “seen firsthand the passion (Holland) has for nurturing artists’ projects and creating a bigger vision,” she said of the CEO announcement.