MySpace CEO Van Natta Resigns

After only nine months on the job, MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta has resigned. 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, and was most recently the CEO of online music company Playlist, Inc.

Van Natta was brought in to MySpace to replace co-founder Chris DeWolfe who had stepped down as CEO just days earlier. After Van Natta came on board, CEO Rupert Murdoch told analysts that the executive changes MySpace (VanNatta) would restore the site’s momentum, making the site “more attractive” and deliver more ad friendly inventory.

It has been said recently that despite VanNatta’s hiring, there has not been much improvement overall with MySpace, particularly in its constant battle to keep up with, let alone surpass, Facebok’s popularity. Under Van Natta MySpace seemed to be shifting its focus toward becoming more of a social venue for music and entertainment rather than trying to fight the beast. Hmmm…Isn’t that what I joined MySpace for in the first place ? Perhaps it should have stuck to its original plan and saved itself all the trouble.

According to NewsCorp, Van Natta will be replaced by newly-elevated co-Presidents Mike Jones and Jason Hirschhorn, who will each report to Jon Miller, Chairman and CEO of Digital Media for News Corporation. All three executives joined MySpace in April 2009, with Mr. Jones and Mr. Hirschhorn previously serving as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Product Officer, respectively.

CEO Miller stated:

“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,” said Jon Miller, News Corporation’s Chairman and CEO of Digital Media. “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.”

Van Natta responded to all of this with the following statement:

“MySpace is an incredibly unique place and we’ve made real gains in terms of product focus and user experience. I’m proud of the work we’ve all accomplished together and look forward to watching its continued growth.”

It is true that MySpace is not as popular as FaceBook, particularly with the younger crowd but according to Miller, it is holding its own. I find it has always remained a great venue for music which in it’s earliest days was the driving source for subscribers. I, myself rarely use it for socializing. MySpace has gone through many changes since its inception. We shall see what happens now in its latest cycle.

Let us know what you think about MySpace.

Just after finishing this post and within one day of Van Natta’s resignation, this is what popped up when I logged into MySpace:

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