Owen Van Natta Out As MySpace CEO; Jones, Hirschhorn Co-Presidents; Miller’s Memo

A major shake up at MySpace, where Owen Van Natta is out after less than a year. Stepping up to run the social network are the other two members of the troika brought in by Jon Miller, chairman and CEO of Digital Media for News Corp. (NYSE: NWS), last April to run the company: Mike Jones and Jason Hirschhorn, who are now co-presidents reporting directly to Miller. (Miller’s memo below, as is the release.) Jones has been CTO and Hirschhorn chief product officer.

Publicly, it’s being called a mutual decision but my understanding is Van Natta didn’t really have a choice. Why? MySpace never needed all three of them to begin with — and Van Natta was the most expendable, even though he was brought in by Rupert Murdoch, not Miller. The other two are directly responsible for the bulk of what MySpace is doing. Shifting full responsibility to them isn’t a major shift in the time-MySpace continuum the way it was when the three of them replaced the founders — and it shouldn’t change the road map much, if at all. But it does make Miller squarely responsible for MySpace in a way he really wasn’t before; in essence, he’s the new CEO.

Miller explained the move to the staff in a late-afternoon memo: “While this may be a surprising turn of events for some of you, I am absolutely confident that this change is best for all parties involved and