MySpace may be considering a few merit-based layoffs, but the social network is also adding some new friends today. It has reached far and wide across major technology and media companies to make senior hires. It has grabbed an engineer from Yahoo, a marketer from MTV and another from eBay, a customer support specialist from phone startup Ooma and a business development leader from the Los Angeles Times.
Now, to make the inevitable comparison to Facebook and its recent hires. Facebook seems to only be hiring from Silicon Valley. Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and vice president of communications and public policy Elliot Schrage both came from Google, this past spring; so did chief financial officer Gideon Yu and platform engineering leader Benjamin Ling, last year. Most recently, new senior engineer Mike Schroepfer came from Firefox browser parent company Mozilla.
MySpace, of course, is in a different place from Facebook. It’s working hard to make money for its parent company, News Corp. Facebook, although increasingly interested in making money, isn’t under the pressure of doing so as much as a public company is.
The full list of new senior-level employees follows, excerpted from the company’s press release:
Manu Thapar joins MySpace as the SVP of Engineering. In this role Manu is responsible for overseeing the company’s infrastructure, security and high priority projects, as well as creating an offshore development team for MySpace. Prior to joining MySpace, Manu served as Vice President of Engineering for Yahoo!, Inc. where he was responsible for software infrastructure engineering, operations, test, product and program management teams of more than 250 engineers.
Angela Courtin (www.myspace.com/acourtin) serves as SVP Marketing, Entertainment, and Content for MySpace. In this newly created role, Angela is responsible for leading the marketing, branding, promotions, events, content and entertainment teams for MySpace with the objective of increasing growth and public awareness and driving revenue through marketing programs for the company. Prior to Joining MySpace Angela served as Vice President, Integrated Marketing, for MTV Networks, responsible for overseeing the West Coast department. In this role she served as the liaison with production and series development as well as the West Coast client base.
Tish Whitcraft (www.myspace.com/tishwhitcraft) recently joined MySpace as SVP of Customer Care. In her new role, she will be responsible for building scalable global customer support, user experience and satisfaction and driving the user feedback loop back to the business. In addition, Tish will focus on building and implementing a new online self-help strategy which will allow MySpace users to get answers and help by delivering more accurate and relevant information right when users need it and want it. Most recently, Tish served as Vice President of Global Customer Experience and Operations at ooma, a consumer voip start-up, where her primary focus was to ensure the highest quality customer experience from product to post-sales.
Jason Oberfest (www.myspace.com/joberfest) serves as Vice President of Business Development for MySpace. In this role, Jason is responsible for structuring and negotiating deals to drive revenue and support the launch of innovative new products. Jason also oversees the commercial programs that are offered to the developer community as part of the MySpace Developer Platform and MySpace’s Data Availability APIs. Prior to MySpace Jason served as Managing Director of Business Development and Product Management for Los Angeles Times Interactive where he structured deals with leading startups including Netvibes, Aggregate Knowledge, Eventful and Mixx.com. Prior to the LA Times Jason served as Vice President of Strategic Planning at the interactive agency Blast Radius, where he led the design and development of media and commerce websites for AOL, Sony, Nintendo, Warner Music Group, Viacom, A&E Television and others.
Abe Thomas (http://www.myspace.com/abethomas08) serves as Vice President of Online Marketing for MySpace, responsible for developing the overall strategy for acquiring new customers through online advertising, affiliates and search marketing. Working closely with the company’s creative group, database engineers and product marketing teams Abe spearheads companywide initiatives geared towards driving loyalty from existing customers through email, direct mail and on the website, using effective segmentation and promotional strategies and tactics. Prior to MySpace, Abe held several leadership positions at eBay and PayPal including leading eBay’s Paid and Natural Search programs and managing eBay India’s Internet Marketing program.