Less than a year after leaving his post as the COO of Facebook to become the CEO of a faltering MySpace, Owen Van Natta is leaving the beleaguered social network. In an official statement, News Corporation's Chairman and CEO of Digital Media Jon Miller said that while Van Natta had "revitalized" the company "his priorities both personally and professionally" had led him to step down from the post (although it's not clear that this was an entirely voluntary move).
Van Natta inherited a network in steep decline, and with major technological issues. A study of ComScore metrics released on Wednesday shows that MySpace's 57 million unique U.S. visitors in December 2009 puts it far behind Facebook, which had 112 million visitors during the same period. The sole bright spot is MySpace Music, which saw unique visitors jump 92% last year.
MySpace will now be run by co-presidents Mike Jones and Jason Hirschhorn. Jones was formerly the COO of MySpace. Hirschhorn decamped from MTV, and then Sling Media, to lead product development at the social network (TechCrunch had rumored he was headed for the door earlier this month). The pair will now report to Miller.
Short of a massive turnaround, it's hard to see how MySpace will be able to regain its momentum anytime soon.