More NewsFacebook’s Former Operations Chief to Lead MySpace

Facebook's Former Operations Chief to Lead MySpace

Owen Van Natta hire is cornerstone of Jonathan Miller's plan to revitalize U.S.'s most trafficked (for now) social media site.

News Corp. has recruited Owen Van Natta, the former chief revenue officer and VP, operations at Facebook, to lead MySpace as CEO. Van Natta replaces founder Chris DeWolfe, whose departure was announced Wednesday.

The shake-up at MySpace comes three weeks after News Corp., MySpace’s parent company, named Jonathan Miller, former AOL CEO, to the position of chief digital officer, overseeing MySpace and other online properties.

“I plan to work closely with Owen to shape our long-term vision around this vibrant community,” said Miller in a statement.

Miller’s refresh at MySpace is not limited to its senior-most exec however. In a statement this week, he said he is in talks with Tom Anderson, MySpace’s president and also a founder, about having Anderson assume a new role in the company.

Van Natta is a bold pick to run MySpace. At Facebook he was closely involved in the company’s operations and its ad revenue strategy, and he helped negotiate the company’s ad representation deal and investment from Microsoft. He’s also reportedly an investor in the fast-growing social platform.

Later he became CEO of Playlist, an online music discovery and sharing service, but he’s now leaving that gig after less than a year.

Earlier in his career, Van Natta was VP of worldwide business and corporate development for Amazon.com, managing strategic partnerships and global marketing programs.

MySpace is the largest social network in the United States with 70.3 million unique visitors, according to comScore. According to News Corp., the site has 130 million visitors worldwide.

But it’s not growing as fast as Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. Unique U.S. visitors to MySpace grew by 3 percent in February 2009 compared to the same month a year ago, according to comScore. In contrast, Facebook’s audience grew 77 percent in the comparable period.

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