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Ex Facebook Exec Named CEO of MySpace

Owen Van Natta replaces co-founder Chris DeWolfe after a company reshuffle.

Is MySpace trying to shake up its approach to the social-networking space?

Owen Van Natta, former chief revenue officer and vice president of operations at Facebook, has been named the new CEO of MySpace by News Corp. Effective immediately, he will report to Jonathan Miller, News Corp’s new CEO of digital media.

He replaces MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe, whose departure was announced Wednesday after a  company reshuffle.

At Facebook, Van Natta helped negotiate the site’s $240 million investment from Microsoft. He left the firm in February, saying he wanted to move to a chief executive role at another firm. Most recently, he was CEO of digital music firm Playlist.

He was, at one point, rumored to be given the top job at MySpace Music, which launched last fall.

The appointment comes at a critical time for MySpace, which has taken a back seat to rival sites Facebook and Twitter.  Even more critical , the site’s lucrative $900 million search advertising deal with Google comes to an end next year, a deal that essentially paid for the News Corp acquisition.

“Owen combines a deep understanding of social networking, a keen business sense and the operational experience to guide MySpace through its next phase of growth," Miller said in a statement.