The picture at MySpace is getting a little clearer following the rushed unseating of longtime CEO Chris DeWolfe: Owen Van Natta starts work today as CEO of the News Corp social media flagship, where he will be joined by Mike Jones, founder of Userplane, and, paidContent has learned, by Viacom (NYSE: VIA) vet Jason Hirschhorn, most recently president of Sling Entertainment. (Hirschhorn was part of the Viacom team that famously lost MySpace to News Corp during an M&A duel in 2004.) With Tom Anderson still in place as president, the roles are defined a little differently for now than might otherwise be the case. Jones, as TechCrunch reported, will be COO, while I expect Hirschhorn to lead product development — until now specifically Anderson’s turf. Expect more definition as Anderson’s position is clarified. The three are meeting in Los Angeles today with MySpace staff.
Update: It’s official, announced by Jon Miller, chief digital officer of News Corp., with suitable comments by Van Natta; Jones as COO, Hirschhorn as chief product officer. Press release after the jump.
– Jones has ties to Miller and to MySpace (NSDQ: NWS). He cofounded Userplane, a web IM and chat firm acquired by AOL in 2006 when Miller was CEO of the *Time Warner* unit for an amount we reported to be in the $30 million to $40 million range. At the time, MySpace was a client and the source of much of the company’s revenue. Jones stayed with AOL (NYSE: AOL) as an SVP focusing on making money from social media — sound familiar? — and then founded Tsavo Media.
– Hirshhorn, was chief digital officer for MTV Networks; he joined MTVN when it acquired his interactive entertainment startup. Hirshhorn was president of Sling Entertainment and launched Sling.com; he left earlier this year along with Sling’s cofounders and much of senior management.
News Corporation Expands MySpace Management Team
Michael Jones named Chief Operating Officer; Jason Hirschhorn named Chief Product Officer
News Corporation today announced an expansion of MySpace