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MySpace loses another top executive

Management turmoil continues at struggling MySpace, as the social networking site shed another top executive Thursday.

Former MTV and Sling Media executive Jason Hirschhorn quit as co-president, a job he took just four months ago, to return to New York.

He could not be reached for comment.

Hirschhorn’s departure after just over a year at MySpace raises new questions about corporate parent News Corp.'s prospects of reviving the slouching fortunes of MySpace. The onetime sizzling hot Internet property has in recent years suffered from sagging advertising revenue and lower online traffic as Facebook has overtaken it as the world’s most popular social networking site.

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News Corp. called Hirschhorn’s departure a “personal decision.” He joined MySpace in 2009 as its chief product officer before assuming co-president duties.

“As many people know, Jason is like family to me, and as expected, he’s done everything we asked of him and more,” News Corp. Chief Digital Officer Jon Miller said in a statement. “We’re incredibly grateful for the passion and enthusiasm he brought to the company.”

Co-President Mike Jones, a former AOL executive, will remain in his role at the company, Miller said. Jones was named co-president at the same time as Hirschhorn, who will not be replaced.

“Mike Jones has done an outstanding job leading MySpace into its next evolution and is the right person to take the reins,” Miller said in the statement. “There are no plans to bring in additional management.”

MySpace has been hit by a wave of management upheaval that saw the ouster in February of Chief Executive Owen Van Natta, a former Facebook executive who held the top spot for less than a year. Van Natta was brought in with great fanfare to replace founding CEO Chris DeWolfe and revive MySpace in April 2009. Hirschhorn nearly left MySpace in February but agreed to stay after Van Natta’s exit, two people familiar with the situation said.

Hirschhorn’s departure is just the latest blow for the social networking site, which News Corp. bought for $580 million five years ago. Even as it gears up for a relaunch later this year, MySpace is losing ad revenue and traffic at a rapid clip, ceding its once dominant position in to the meteoric rise of Facebook and to newcomers such as Twitter. MySpace still counts millions of users, averaging 111 million visitors worldwide in April. But Facebook clocked 519 million in the same period.

Hirschhorn announced his departure on Twitter. “Yes I am moving back to NYC. Concrete jungle where dreams are made of. I believe in MySpace, its leader Jonesy and its wonderful team,” he wrote. His departure was first reported by technology blog TechCrunch.

Dawn.chmielewski@latimes.com

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Jessica.guynn@latimes.com


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