Social networking giant MySpace has tapped former FaceBook COO and chief revenue officer Owen Van Natta to take over the CEO position from founder Chris DeWolfe, whose departure was announced just last week.
Van Natta spent three years as FaceBook’s COO and then chief revenue officer, where he helped broker Microsoft’s $240 million investment in Facebook; before that, he worked as a deal-maker at Amazon.com. Van Natta left FaceBook in early 2008 after butting heads with Facebook CEo Mark Zuckerberg, and took the top job at California online music outfit Playlist.com. Van Natta takes over the MySpace top chair effective immediately.
At MySpace, Van Natta faces a daunting challenge: although MySpace is still the dominant social networking site in the United States, it has fallen behind FaceBook in terms of the number of worldwide subscribers. And while Facebook has continued to push its developer platform (and just announced today it will be offering even deeper hooks into its services for third-party developers), MySpace’s technological offerings have remained relatively staid. Van Natta will be responsible, in part, for reinvigorating the MySpace brand and opening up new revenue streams.
Van Natta will continue to serve as an advisor to Playlist.com; in the meantime, MTV co-founder John Sykes will take over as Playlist CEO.