MySpace CEO steps down


said Wednesday that Owen Van Natta, chief executive of the company’s
MySpace online social networking service, has stepped down.

Van Natta, a former executive at privately held rival Facebook Inc.,
took the CEO job at MySpace in April of last year. MySpace has
struggled in competition with Facebook, which has added users at a
rapid clip.

“Owen took on an incredible challenge in working to refocus and revitalize MySpace,” Jon Miller, News Corp.’s chairman and CEO of Digital Media, 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,” Miller said.

Van Natta is being replaced by co-Presidents Mike Jones and Jason Hirschhorn, News Corp. said.

“We joined MySpace last April with very a specific
set of goals in mind, and are anxious to continue working together to
make those goals a reality,” Jones and Hirschhorn said in a joint

In June, MySpace announced it would fire more than
400 employees, or nearly 30 percent of its staff, in a restructuring
effort. Those cuts had been widely anticipated, as MySpace was seen
rapidly losing ground to Facebook.

Among adults, roughly 48 percent of those with a
social networking site profile have a MySpace page, according to a
recently published Pew Research Center study on Social Media and Young Adults — while 73 percent have a Facebook profile.

According to recent data from Experian Hitwise,
MySpace dropped out of its position as the premier Internet search term
in 2009, ceding it to Facebook after three years on top.

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