During a late afternoon meeting today at MySpace, chief executive Owen Van Natta, formerly the chief operating officer of Facebook, was nudged out the door. Just nine months after joining the company, he’s being replaced by Mike Jones and Jason Hirschhorn, executives who were brought in alongside Van Natta last April and who will now report as co-presidents to News Corp.’s digital chief, Jon Miller.
What happened? A News Corp. insider tells me tonight that the departure is a shock to no one for a variety of reasons, beginning with the near simultaneous way that Van Natta, Jones, and Hirschhorn were brought in. “Owen had little to no influence over that decision,” says this person, who adds that among Miller, Jones and Hirschhorn, Van Natta was “the odd man out” from nearly the outset.
Friction grew more extreme over time. “While Owen was off giving speeches around the world, Mike and Jason were doing the hard work,” say this person. “After a while, no one was sure what they needed [Van Natta] for.”