Update: This story is now confirmed.
One thing MySpace has is a lot of holes in the executive ranks. Founding CEO Chris DeWolfe has been hurriedly replaced by Owen Van Natta (our thoughts on that are well known). Cofounder and President Tom Anderson is having “discussions” about “assuming a new role in the organization.” And last month three of the top (and most capable) execs (COO, SVP Product Strategy and VP Technology) left to start their own company. More MySpace execs will soon be leaving, voluntarily or not, as Van Natta fills the gaps and adds loyal lieutenants.
The first announcement will likely be a replacement for the COO spot, who will be the no. 2 exec at MySpace. A number of current MySpace execs are hoping for the job, particularly Jeff Berman, president of sales and marketing. But our understanding is that the COO spot is definitely going to an outsider.
The most likely candidate, we’ve heard from sources, is former AOL exec Mike Jones. Jones’ company, Userplane, was acquired by AOL in late 2006. And Jones worked closely with former AOL boss Jonathan Miller, who is now overseeing all of News Corp.’s digital assets, including MySpace.
Jones is a well respected executive who has proven product experience (something sorely lacking at MySpace). If he joins, he’ll likely become a valuable asset to the company. He’s a smart pick if MySpace can get him, and frankly would have been a much better choice for the CEO spot than Van Natta.
News Corp. hasn’t responded to a request for comment, nor will they. More surprising, Jones, who is a personal friend, hasn’t taken any of my 15 calls today, or responded to voicemails or emails. That means he is either on an airplane, or he’s avoiding me like the plague. My guess is this is real.