It will be completely anticlimactic by then but Kara Swisher is reportingand I believe it to be truethat News Corp (NYSE: NWS). will announce Friday that former rival Owen Van Natta is the new CEO of MySpace. Van Natta, who left Facebook and flirted with other positions before opting for CEO of Playlist, will be the first new leader of the massive social net since its founding.
Van Natta follows Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson, respectively CEO and president, who shaped MySpace and retained leadership after it was acquired by News Corp. in 2005. They outlasted two heads of Fox Interactive Media, Ross Levinsohn and Peter Levinsohn (and numerous heads of other business acquired by FIM) but not Jon Miller, who joined News Corp. this month to head digital. Miller would not have taken that job without News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch's understanding that he needed the right to make changes at MySpace. Van Natta is only part of it; other offers have been made and are moving forward. Initial hopes were to announce a cluster together but the rushed timeline put a damper on that.
We reported last night that the paperwork wasn't done; in fact, I don't think Van Natta, who I am told was the only candidate for this particular job, had formally accepted it before the news broke that a change was in the works. But the TechCrunch report that DeWolfe had been firedbefore it happened and before Miller's choices were readysped up the process to 78 rpm from 33 1/3. In quick order, DeWolfe's fate was sealed, Anderson's was under discussion and Van Natta signed on.
But DeWolfe isn't going away completely and Anderson likely will have some status with the company. His situation is the more difficult of the two; as it was put it to me, "you have to treat someone who's tied to the audience with a lot of respect."
Photo Credit: dfarber
By Staci D. Kramer