Exclusive: MySpace Gets a New Sales Boss–MTV Vet Nada Stirratt (Plus, an Internal Memo, Of Course!)
Employees at MySpace have been waiting to find out who their new ad sales boss will be, as All Things Digital reported earlier this week.
And here she is: Nada Stirratt, who until today was running digital sales for Viacom’s (VIA) MTV Networks. (You can read her goodbye memo to MTV colleagues below.)
It looks as if MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta is assembling a team of MTV veterans at his company, which he’s in the process of overhauling.
In addition to Stirratt, MySpace has brought former digital guru Jason Hirschhorn over as chief product officer. And Courtney Holt, who runs MySpace Music, had run digital music for MTV before Chris DeWolfe, Van Natta’s predecessor, brought him on board last year. Viacom hasn’t named a replacement for Stirratt.
Next week could be Stirratt’s debut in front of the entire advertising sales staff of MySpace, who are set to gather at a new seaside resort about 20 miles south of Los Angeles to get a first glimpse of the fresh direction the company is preparing to take under its new management.
The struggling social networking site, HQed in Beverly Hills, has been trying to reboot its image, spur innovation in its product and most of all, pull itself out of a too-long slump, even as longtime rival, Palo Alto, Calif.-based Facebook, has seen explosive growth.
In late August, MySpace sales and marketing head Jeff Berman left the company as MySpace hired MediaLink, a New York- and Los Angeles-based media consultancy, to help get its ad sales business back on track.
That effort has been led by MediaLink President Wenda Millard, who is well known in the ad industry and was longtime leader of the ad sales force at Yahoo (YHOO).
Getting an experienced top ad exec in place will round out a recent spate of new hiring by MySpace, including a new CTO, Alex Maghen, who moved over from its MySpace Music joint venture, and a new CFO, Mark Rosenbaum.
This has been part of Van Natta’s wholesale flushing out of most of the top execs who worked under DeWolfe.
Now, with a new team of execs, the News Corp. (NWS) property is putting the finishing touches on a master plan, which will include a new redesign of its hopelessly messy interface and doubling down on a product strategy that will center on, said one source, “what we own,” namely, music and entertainment.
Music is the obvious key leverage point, the still-bright spot of MySpace, followed by adding big entertainment categories like movies, television, gaming, video and other pop culture arenas.
Once the rejiggered product is in place, it will be up to Stirratt to sell it to advertisers.
Until we see how she does in that key job, here’s her missive to MTVers:
From: Stirratt, Nada
To: MTVN Digital Advertising
Sent: Fri Oct 09 16:34:51 2009
Subject: Thank You for Everything
It is with mixed emotions that I write to inform you that I will be leaving MTV Networks. I have accepted the job of Chief Revenue Officer at MySpace and will be starting there later in the month.
The past 3+ years have been such a wonderful experience and I thank you for the extraordinary work you all have done to make MTVNetworks Digital stand for a best-in-class sales organization unlike any other in the business. Truly. We rocked the industry with our innovation, ideas, relationships and results. And we had a ridiculous amount of fun along the way. So thank you for everything. And a special heartfelt thanks to my leadership team of Kevin, Brad, Jason and Heather: I have learned so much from each of you and will cherish your friendship.
(Full disclosure: News Corp. also owns Dow Jones, which owns this site.)