Former Facebook executive Owen Van Natta has been named CEO of MySpace, replacing co-founder Chris DeWolfe. The move came after News Corp.’s announcement this week that DeWolfe would soon step down and other executive roles may be shifted—including that of president and co-founder Tom Anderson.
Van Natta will report to Jon Miller, former AOL CEO, who joined MySpace earlier this month as chief digital officer.
Van Natta formerly served as Facebook’s chief operating officer in 2005 followed by stints as VP of operations and chief revenue officer. He helped negotiate Facebook’s $240 million investment from Microsoft. He left Facebook in 2008 and became CEO of streaming music search engine Project Playlist.
This move comes along with MySpace’s lagging performance in the social networking space. It continues to have more users than Facebook in the US – 70 million versus 61 million in March, according to comScore. But the margin has been narrowing.
On the global scale, however, Facebook has a much greater lead with 200 million users compared to MySpace’s 130 million.
“Owen combines a deep understanding of social networking, a keen business sense and the operational experience to guide MySpace through its next phase of growth. I’m confident his leadership will be an invaluable asset,” said Miller in a statement, “I plan to work closely with Owen to shape our long-term vision around this vibrant community.”
“I’m thrilled to have the privilege to pilot MySpace in what is sure to be an incredibly exciting and rewarding next chapter for the business,” Van Natta said in a statement, “I feel honored to build upon the immeasurable achievements of the MySpace founders and look forward to working with Jon and the MySpace team to meet the challenges and make the most of the opportunities before us.”