Owen Van Natta
News Corp. said late today that its CEO of less than one year, former Facebook exec Owen Van Natta, has resigned, effective immediately. He will be replaced by newly-elevated co-Presidents Mike Jones, who previously served as the Chief Operating Officer, and Jason Hirschon, former Chief Product Officer. They will report to Jon Miller, chairman and CEO of Digital Media for News Corp.
Van Natta, Jones and Hirschon all joined MySpace in April 2009. In a press release posted on the company's Web site, Miller said:
Owen took on an incredible challenge in working to refocus and revitalize MySpace, and the business has shown very positive signs recently as a result of his dedicated work. However, in talking to Owen about his priorities both personally and professionally going forward, we both agreed that it was best for him to step down at this time. I want to thank Owen for all of his efforts.
MySpace has continued to struggle against rival Facebook under Van Natta's leadership. The site has been trying to reinvent itself as a social hub for music and entertainment.
Van Natta previously served as Chief Revenue Officer and Vice President of Operations for Facebook, where he helped negotiate Facebook’s $240 million investment from Microsoft. Earlier, he served as Vice President of Worldwide Business and Corporate Development for Amazon.com, and was most recently the CEO of online music company Playlist, Inc.
Van Natta was brought in to replace MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe, who had stepped down as CEO days before Van Natta's hiring was made public. About a week after Van Natta came on board, CEO Rupert Murdoch told analysts that the executive changes at MySpace would restore the site’s momentum, make the site “more attractive” and deliver more ad friendly inventory.
In an earnings call with analysts last week, News Corp. executives didn’t have much to say about MySpace, other than to say that the site is “not yet really where we want it to be” but that there are signs of “traffic stablization.”