MySpace CEO Steps Down After Just 10 Months
Article by George Norman
On 11 Feb 2010
10 months ago, Owen Van Natta took News Corp.’s offer and became the new CEO of social networking site MySpace. Now he unexpectedly announced that he is stepping down as MySpace CEO, which is not a good sign for the site that is currently trying to reinvent itself. Owen Van Natta will be replaced by Chief Operating Officer Mike Jones and Chief Product Officer Jason Hirschhorn, Van Natta’s lieutenants so to speak . The two will be promoted to serve as co-presidents of MySpace.

“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," Chairman and Chief Executive of Digital Media for News Corp, Jon Miller, said in the statement. "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 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,” said former MySpace CEO, Owen Van Natta.

Enough of the polite pleasantries. Nobody quits after just 10 months and says that everything is going well. With MySpace in the process of reinventing itself, the departure of its CEO smells fishy. According to All Things Digital, the real reason why Owen Van Natta left is because he was frustrated – frustrated with his job, frustrated with the lack of a quick turnaround for MySpace. Attempts to turn MySpace around took much longer than anticipated. The social networking site has been loosing users in favor of similar sites (mainly Facebook) at a steady pace and overhauling the site did not seem to make things better. Things got so bad that MySpace said it no longer wants to compete with Facebook as a social networking site. At the current time MySpace is trying to become some sort of entertainment hub and hang on to the users it currently has.

In related CES (Chief Execute Something) news, it should be said that Opera’s CEO Jon von Tetzchner stepped down as well this January. Jon von Tetzchner, co-founder and CEO of Opera Software since ’95, remains part of the company but “in a strategic and independent capacity.”

In further related news, Canonical, the company behind popular operating system Ubuntu, announced Matt Assay joined the team as Chief Operating Officer (COO). According to Canonical’s current CEO, Jane Silber, bringing in a leading open source business strategist like Assay was imperative.

Tags: MySpace, Social networking, CEO, Owen Van Natta
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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MySpace CEO Steps Down After Just 10 Months
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