MySpace has named former Facebook executive and current CEO of Project Playlist Owen Van Natta as the new CEO of the company, effective immediately.
Natta will be based in Los Angeles and will report directly to Jonathan Miller, NewsCorp CEO of digital media and chief digital officer.
The move comes a day after the company announced the departure of MySpace co-founder and CEO Chris DeWolfe. DeWolfe’s departure was considered imminent following a rash of press speculation that the incoming Miller-who only took the top digital position at NewsCorp last month-was looking to fire DeWolfe and MySpace president Chris Anderson. DeWolfe will remain as a “strategic advisor” while Anderson is negotiating a different role within the company.
At Facebook, Natta held roles of chief revenue officer and VP of operations. He also previously served as VP of worldwide business development and corporate development at Amazon.
His appointment comes less than six months after he took on the role of Project Playlist, which is in the midst of complex licensing negotiations with the major record labels, several of which are suing the online playlist building and sharing service for copyright infringement.
John Sykes, co-founder of MTV and former president of VH1, has been named Project Playlist’s new CEO. Sykes formerly served as a Project Playlist board member. Natta will remain an advisor to the company.
Project Playlist has so far scored licensing deals with Sony Music Entertainment and EMI Music Group. Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group remain involved in the lawsuit and no licensing deals have yet been set, although negotiations are taking place. Natta was considered a key player in legitimizing the site. Pressure from the labels suing the service has caused both MySpace and Facebook to block the Project Playlist widget from both social networking sites.