Exec steps down at struggling social network site

MySpace has deleted its top executive.

Former Facebook exec Owen Van Natta stepped down as CEO of the social networking giant Wednesday, and will be replaced by Mike Jones and Jason Hirschhorn as co-presidents, effective immediately.

The two report to Jon Miller, chairman and CEO of digital media for News Corp.

The timing comes as MySpace is still trying to regain footing in the social networking space and as Facebook continues to grow at a rapid pace. Google also has begun adding social tools to its Gmail service.

All three executives joined MySpace in April. Jones previously served as chief operating officer, while Hirschhorn was chief product officer.

“Owen took on an incredible challenge in working to refocus and revitalize MySpace, and the business has shown very positive signs recently as a result of his dedicated work,” Miller said. “However, in talking to Owen about his priorities both personally and professionally going forward, we both agreed that it was best for him to step down at this time. I want to thank Owen for all of his efforts.”

When he took the job less than nine months ago, Van Natta quickly began overhauling the company, cutting staff and business units. MySpace has been more focused on using music and video content to stand apart.

Before joining MySpace, Jones launched several online businesses, including online community venture Userplane. The company was acquired by AOL in 2006. He also was founder and CEO of Tsavo Media, an online content and search network.

Hirschhorn was formerly president of Sling Media’s entertainment group, which created applications for the Slingbox device. He also was chief digital officer at MTV Networks.

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