Three's Company: Meet Your New MySpace Executive Team

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Less than a week ago MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe still felt secure in his job. Fast forward to today and DeWolfe is out and a new CEO, Owen Van Natta, is starting his first day on the job.

And he’s already got two lieutenants, either of which could easily be the CEO: former AOL exec Mike Jones as COO (he has /mike at MySpace and was one of the first 3,000 members) and Jason Hirschhorn is the new Chief Product Officer. MySpace cofounder and President Tom Anderson, who’s currently leading the product team, is having “discussions” about “assuming a new role in the organization.” Hirschhorn was formerly the Chief Digital Officer at MTV Networks and was most recently the head of Sling Media Entertainment Group. Van Natta, Jones and Hirschhorn are pictured left to right above.

As we said last week, this was more than a simple CEO change. The entire senior executive team has been restructured with outsiders hand picked by News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. Digital Media chief Jon Miller. From what we hear they’re done hiring for now. But as Van Natta, Jones and Hirschhorn settle in, expect many more changes down the road.

Those execs that are still left at MySpace are meeting the new team for the first time today (I’d pay good money to listen in on that). Later in the afternoon they’ll lead an all-hands meeting.

The full press release is below.

News Corporation Expands MySpace Management Team

Michael Jones named Chief Operating Officer

Jason Hirschhorn named Chief Product Officer
______________________

Los Angeles, CA, April 27, 2009 – News Corporation today announced an expansion of MySpace’s management team with two key new hires. Michael Jones has been named Chief Operating Officer and Jason Hirschhorn has been named Chief Product Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Jones and Mr. Hirschhorn will be based in Los Angeles and report to MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta.

Jones has founded and operated several online businesses, including Userplane, a leading provider of tools for online communities such as MySpace. Userplane was acquired in 2006 by AOL, where Jones subsequently served as a Senior Vice President and focused on social media monetization and also pioneered the distribution of widgets and other technology to Web publishers. Most recently, he was the founder and CEO of Tsavo Media, an online content and search network developing next-generation publishing platforms and technology services.

Hirschhorn has led both start-up and established online businesses. Most recently he was President of Sling Media, Inc’s Entertainment Group, which created consumer-driven applications and services for the Slingbox device. Previously, he was Chief Digital Officer at MTV Networks, where he oversaw the company’s digital media businesses, products and strategies. Hirschhorn joined MTV Networks following the acquisition of his company Mischief New Media, which provided interactive services to the entertainment industry.

“Michael’s operational insight and knowledge of the social media market will prove to be a valuable asset as we set out to evolve the MySpace product offering,” said Jon Miller, Chief Digital Officer, News Corporation. “From a product perspective, there’s no better choice than Jason, who is highly regarded as an incredibly talented innovator, media executive and leader, all qualities I know will greatly benefit our team and our users.”

“We were attracted to Michael’s unique background in building and operating successful businesses that fall directly in our sweet spot, and I look forward to leveraging his skill set as we further refine and shape the MySpace vision,” said Mr. Van Natta. “Jason’s reputation for creating compelling consumer experiences that leverage the intersection of technology, design and media is unmatched and we’re excited to have him join us.”

“I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to build upon the successes of the company’s founders and am eager to work with Owen and Jon and the rest of the incredible management team at MySpace as we enter this exciting new phase in the company’s already revered history,” said Mr. Jones. Mr. Hirschhorn continued, “MySpace is one of the most alluring innovations of our time and I am honored to collaborate with Tom Anderson and the rest of the MySpace team to take what is already a stellar product into its next evolution.”

News Corporation (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA; ASX: NWS, NWSLV) had total assets as of December 31, 2008 of approximately US$50 billion and total annual revenues of approximately US$33 billion. News Corporation is a diversified global media company with operations in eight industry segments: filmed entertainment; television; cable network programming; direct broadcast satellite television; magazines and inserts; newspapers and information services; book publishing; and other. The activities of News Corporation are conducted principally in the United States, Continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, Asia and Latin America.

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