We’ve confirmed our story from the weekend that former AOL exec Mike Jones will become the COO of MySpace. This makes him the number 2 executive of the reorganized News Corp. subsidiary under new CEO Owen Van Natta. A third new executive may also be announced later today.
An announcement will be made later this morning. Jones and Van Natta will join Jonathan Miller, the CEO Digital Media, at MySpace’s Los Angeles offices today to address employees.
Jones is a well respected entrepreneur who founded Userplane, a video chat service that added social features to dating and other sites. Userplane was bought by AOL in 2006 for around $40 million. The acquisition was made at the time that Jonathan Miller was the CEO of AOL, and Jones knows Miller well.
As we said in an earlier post about the changing of the guard at MySpace, News Corp. is making a clean sweep of the top executives. Cofounder and CEO Chris DeWolfe is out. Cofounder and President Tom Anderson is is having “discussions” about “assuming a new role in the organization.” Our guess is that the final Cofounder, CTO Aber Whitcomb, is next to go.
Jones left AOL in 2008 to start a new company, Tsavo, which sources tell us is off to a very fast start. The company raised a substantial amount of capital from American Capital and has made a number of acquisitions. Sources also say that the company is profitable. Jones will be stepping into a board of directors and advisor role, and he certainly leaves the company far more structurally sound than his new boss Owen Van Natta did with his own Project Playlist.
This is the kind of executive that many hoped Miller would bring in to run the massive MySpace property, which remains one of the largest sites on the Internet despite lagging badly behind Facebook in growth. Jones won’t have the same authority in the No. 2 position at the company, but if Van Natta is smart enough to give him room to run it will be a good sign for the company.
Another good sign – Jones is a long time user of MySpace and is very active on the site. CEO Van Natta barely has a presence, and Miller isn’t yet on the site.