MySpace Chief Executive Owen Van Natta stepped down Wednesday evening, less than a year after taking over the troubled Beverly Hills-based social networking site.
Van Natta will be replaced by co-presidents Mike Jones and Jason Hirschhorn, both of whom joined MySpace when Van Natta was brought on board in April 2009. Jones and Hirschhorn will report to Jon Miller, the chief executive of digital media for News Corp., which owns 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,” Miller said in a 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.”
Van Natta, a former executive from MySpace rival Facebook, took over the social networking site at a time when it was losing users and buzz to Facebook and Twitter.com. Van Natta helped oversee MySpace’s acquisition of online music service company iLike Inc. in August. He sought to rebrand the company as an entertainment site rather than just a social network. However, the company is still widely regarded as lagging behind its competitors.
“MySpace is an incredibly unique place and we’ve made real gains in terms of product focus and user experience,” Van Natta said in a statement. “I’m proud of the work we’ve all accomplished together and look forward to watching its continued growth.”