Monday, August 16, 2010

(empo-plaaybizz) Owen Van Natta plays around

The last time that I wrote about Owen Van Natta, it concerned the mixed messages that Van Natta and his boss Jon Miller were sending out about MySpace layoffs. On the one hand, Van Natta was telling MySpace employees were "friends and colleagues," and that the round of layoffs was a difficult decision. On the other hand, Van Natta and Miller were telling investors that MySpace was "bloated."

I hadn't followed Van Natta since, but apparently Jon Miller determined a few months later that MySpace was still a little too bloated, and one more layoff was required:

The long-running telenovela that has been MySpace over the years took yet another dramatic turn late today when News Corp. Chief Digital Officer Jon Miller fired MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta, whom he had hired only nine months ago to turn around the troubled social networking site....

While News Corp. tried to paint the departure as more mutual in its official statement, it was most definitely not, as problems among top execs finally came to a head today....

Sources...noted that Van Natta...had begun to bridle at not being able to select his own execs and at increasing meddling in the MySpace turnaround by Miller.

Like I said, I missed all of this news when it happened in February. But I definitely caught the recent announcement of where Van Natta was landing.


Zynga, the dominant social-gaming company that seems to spend most of its time raising money, has finished up yet another deal: It has officially brought in Web veteran Owen Van Natta, giving him the title “Executive Vice President of Business Operations.”

Following last month’s hire of Allen & Co. vet David Wehner as CFO, the move will be interpreted as yet another signal that Zynga is moving toward a big-money public offering.

Zynga headed for an IPO? A. J. Patrick Liszkiewicz can't be pleased.
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