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Zynga Hires Former MySpace CEO Van Natta As EVP

FarmVille developer Zynga has appointed Owen Van Natta, formerly CEO of MySpace and an executive at Facebook before that, as its new executive vice president of Business Operations.
FarmVille developer Zynga has appointed Owen Van Natta, formerly CEO of MySpace and an executive at Facebook before that, as its new executive vice president of Business Operations. Van Natta, who is also joining the San Francisco-headquartered developer's board of directors, is tasked with overseeing the company's revenue strategy, corporate development, international expansion, and brand. Zynga says he's served as an advisor to the company for some time now. Considered an eminent figure in the social networking space, the executive most recently was CEO for MySpace, taking over for the site's ousted co-founder/head Chris DeWolfe in April 2009. He was replaced by Mike Jones And Jason Hirschhorn last February after conflicts with News Corp.'s (MySpace's parent company) chief digital officer Jonathan Miller. Prior to MySpace, Van Natta worked at the site's rival, Facebook -- both social networks have strong partnerships with Zynga, though the developer attracts many more users (almost 215 million per month) at the latter site. He worked as chief operating officer and eventually chief revenue officer during his three years at Facebook until early 2008. His appointment comes just a couple weeks after Zynga brought in Dave Wehner, previously a managing director at new media investment bank Allen & Co., as its chief financial officer, a move some speculate is a sign of an upcoming IPO for the company. Zynga is bringing Van Natta in just after completing a series of major deals, including its recent raising of $150 million from Japan's Softbank, its new Zynga Japan joint venture with Softbank, and several acquisitions (Unoh, XPD Media, Challenge Games). The social gaming studio also reportedly received between $100 million to $200 million from Google, which is rumored to be working on a games-friendly social network of its own that could use Zynga's popular titles as a cornerstone for its offerings.

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