MySpace appoints former Facebook chief

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The Independent Online

MySpace, the social networking site owned by media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, has appointed a former Facebook senior manager to revitalise the brand and lead the charge against its bitter rival.

The group announced yesterday that it had appointed Owen Van Natta as chief executive of MySpace with immediate effect. He joins from online music company Playlist, and has the task of taking on Facebook, where he was as chief revenue officer and vice president of operations until the beginning of last year. He was highly regarded at the group and was one of the key players in the negotiations with Microsoft, which invested $240m in the site in 2007.

Mr Van Natta, who has also held senior positions at Amazon.com, reports to Jonathan Miller, the chief executive of digital media at News Corporation, MySpace’s parent company.

Mr Miller said Mr Van Natta had been chosen to grow the MySpace business because of a “deep understanding of social networking, a keen business sense and the operational experience”.

He replaces Chris DeWolfe, one of the MySpace’s founders who stepped down on Wednesday “by mutual agreement”. He will remain at the group as a strategic adviser and continue to sit on the board.

“In a little under six years we’ve grown MySpace from a small operation with seven people to a very profitable business with over 1,600 employees,” Mr DeWolfe said this week. “It’s been one of the best experiences of my life.”

News Corporation bought MySpace in 2005 for $580m.

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