Ex-Facebook COO, Owen Van Natta, Becomes CEO Of MySpace

Today MySpace has annoucned that Owen Van Natta, the ex-Chief Operating Officer of Facebook has been appointed the role of MySpace Chief Executive Officer. It’s approximately a year and two months after leaving Facebook and one has to wonder, did Owen Van Natta have a non-compete? He clearly has substantial competitive intelligence and while he may not know the latest information from inside Facebook, he at the least has deep insight into the way the organization functions.
The announcement comes as no surprise given that MySpace has been leaking the information for the past few days, but now that it’s confirmed it will be interesting to see what comes of this. MySpace would most likely not hire Van Natta if they expected a costly legal battle with Facebook. At this point it appears to settle many old scores as Mike Arrington writes.

Van Natta now gets to go head to head against Mark Zuckerberg, a formal partner turned enemy. One has to wonder about the legal standing of this new position though. As Mike Arrington wrote, “Van Natta owns a significant percentage of Facebook stock” which most definitely makes for a conflict of interest. Regardless, MySpace pushed through with the announcement today.
Van Natta stated in a press release, “I feel honored to build upon the immeasurable achievements of the MySpace founders and look forward to working with Jon and the MySpace team to meet the challenges and make the most of the opportunities before us.” It’s a serious blow to Facebook who is in the enviable position of trying to monetize a site that continues to grow at an amazing pace.
Contrast that with MySpace who’s traffic continues to decline domestically as users shift to Facebook. Can Van Natta turn that all around? We’ll have to wait in see how this drama plays out.