*News Corp.* digital media head Jon Miller is moving swiftly– more swiftly than even he expected, I think — to take charge of the company’s most important digital asset: MySpace. Just how that will be accomplished is still playing out but it looks like it will be done without Chris DeWolfe and most likely without Tom Anderson, CEO and president respectively. Miller’s quiet conversations and interviews over the past few weeks with possible candidates for various News Corp (NYSE: NWS). digital jobs, including roles at MySpace, led to a TechCrunch report Tuesday night that DeWolfe has been fired and to a subsequent suggestion that Anderson was out as well. It’s also led to some intense discussions between DeWolfe and Miller.
What’s the company stance? Right now, I can’t even get an official answer to the point-blank question of whether or not DeWolfe is still CEO — which tells you something. (Update: News Corp. issued a press release late Wednesday afternoon making it official. The answer is yes and no: yes, he is still CEO. No, he won’t be much longer.)
Beyond the timing, the notion of a MySpace that isn’t led by DeWolfe isn’t a complete surprise. Miller knew going in that MySpace was going to be a core challenge and he also knew that some people inside and outside of News Corp. thought it was time for a change at the top. The biggest question has been how to make it happen: move DeWolfe over and up, leaving room for a new CEO; bring in a new COO who would really run things — that job has been vacant since Amit Kapur decamped with a cluster of MySpace vets; or simply take him out of the equation. Why Anderson? He’s the head of product development, an area that has turned into a problem for MySpace. But Miller was still mulling various possibilities until the TechCruch report literally forced matters into the open.
More after the jump.
He has talked to a number of people, including Facebook vet Owen Van Natta, now CEO of Playlist. (Peter Kafka has a nice rundown on Van Natta.) TechCrunch, working off what it says was a secret list provided by “a source close to MySpace,’ posts a plethora of names, including Jason Calacanis and Ross Levinsohn, Miller’s former partner at Velocity Interactive and, as the head of Fox Interactive Media, the guy who spent several years jousting with DeWolfe. Right.
Photo Credit: JD Lasica, socialmedia.biz.