Report: Van Natta to become MySpace CEO

The former Facebook executive will take the helm at MySpace after a short stint at start-up Project Playlist, according to an All Things Digital report.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy
2 min read
We can expect an announcement very soon that Owen Van Natta will be replacing Chris DeWolfe as CEO of MySpace, All Things Digital reported on Thursday afternoon.

Considering that AllThingsD's Kara Swisher has a very good track record of knowing Van Natta's whereabouts, we're going to take this one as solid. The announcement could come as early as Friday, Swisher wrote, and though there's no word on timing, we're guessing that it'll either be after the market closes or possibly held off until Monday.

Owen Van Natta

Van Natta rose to the tech world's upper ranks as chief operating officer of Facebook, a position he took after a stint at Amazon.com. He left just more than a year ago, either because of internal disputes with CEO Mark Zuckerberg or because he saw no chance that he'd earn the top spot himself anytime soon (or both). He was then reportedly in the running for the head job at MySpace's new music service and apparently withdrew his candidacy.

Right now, he's the CEO of Project Playlist, one of the many "social music" start-ups that is technically a competitor to MySpace Music, and he has been inking deals with record labels to keep away its persistent legal problems.

DeWolfe's departure from MySpace was announced earlier this week as part of a management shake-up that was likely initiated by Jonathan Miller, the new digital boss at MySpace parent company News Corp. There will likely be other departures and new executives, but AllThingsD said they won't be announced quite yet.

Van Natta probably wasn't the only candidate under consideration: there were hints that News Corp. was also looking internally, possibly at sales and marketing executive Jeff Berman.

Either way, MySpace is in need of some fresh ideas, as it continues to slide into second place behind Facebook.