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3 MySpace executives leaving for start-up

March 04, 2009|Dawn C. Chmielewski

Three of MySpace's top executives, including the chief operating officer, are leaving the social network to start their own start-up.

Chief Operating Officer Amit Kapur, who played a key role in the launch of the MySpace Music joint venture with the major labels, plans to depart, taking with him one of MySpace's original architects, Senior Vice President Jim Benedetto, and Steve Pearman, a senior vice president who oversaw strategy.

Details of the new start-up were not available.

MySpace's founding team of Chief Executive Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson remain in place.

But the high-level exodus comes at a time when the social networking site faces increasing pressure from rival Facebook, which is gaining ground in the U.S., where MySpace is dominant.

The News Corp.-owned company also has struggled to find ways to capitalize on its vast online audience.

The company recently disclosed that the Fox Interactive Media group, which includes MySpace, had an operating loss of $38 million in the quarter that ended Dec. 31, partly because of costs associated with the launch of MySpace Music. The highly touted service allows users to listen to and buy music.

Kapur was one of MySpace's first employees, and all business development and operations reported to him, including MySpace.com, MySpace Music and MySpace Mobile. He assumed the chief operating officer's role a little more than a year ago.

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dawn.chmielewski@latimes.com

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