Doc O'Connor Surprisingly Steps Down At MSG; James Dolan Now Interim CEO
DAVID "DOC" O’CONNOR yesterday stepped down as MSG Co. President & CEO "without warning or public explanation," and MSG Exec Chair JAMES DOLAN is "stepping in" as interim CEO, according to Shaw & Smith of BLOOMBERG NEWS. The move is the "latest twist in the running saga of the Dolan family" that has "overseen years of basketball ineptitude and an ever-changing cast" of Knicks coaches. BTIG analyst BRANDON ROSS said, "I’m shocked. Doc has done a very good job. He was brought in to be an operator, and operationally everything is going great. That makes me wonder: does Jim want to be CEO himself?" O’Connor’s Hollywood background "was supposed to help" MSG "boost revenue from its venues." O'Connor "established residencies with entertainers" such as BILLY JOEL and JERRY SEINFELD, an "approach the company called 'artist-first.'" O’Connor left CAA in July '15 to join MSG. According to the company’s most recent proxy statement, O’Connor could get $47.6M, "based on Friday’s market close, if he wasn’t terminated for cause or if he left" MSG for a "good reason" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 11/13). In N.Y., Richard Morgan notes O'Connor was MSG's "third CEO in less than eight years" (N.Y. POST, 11/14). VARIETY's Cynthia Littleton noted O’Connor was "among the core group of leaders who took over CAA" in '95 after the departures of co-Founders MICHAEL OVITZ and RON MEYER. He was also a "key player" in the '06 launch of CAA Sports (VARIETY.com, 11/13). O'Connor's departure also comes as MSG is looking to unload the WNBA Liberty (THE DAILY).