Madison Square Garden chief exec Hank Ratner steps down

Exec who oversaw $1B renovation of MSG to be replaced by Cablevision's Tad Smith
February 28, 2014 02:25PM

Madison Square Garden president and chief executive Hank Ratner, who oversaw the arena’s recent $1 billion renovation, is to be replaced in the organization’s leadership role.

Ratner will be replaced by Tad Smith, who currently serves as president of local media for Cablevision Systems, sources with direct knowledge of the personnel told Bloomberg. Until a spinoff in 2010, Cablevision was MSG’s parent company. A spokesperson for MSG declined to comment to Bloomberg on the change, which the New York-based company has yet to formally disclose.

“The single biggest frustration with MSG is that it hasn’t committed to return capital to shareholders,” Laura Martin, a senior analyst with Needham & Company told Bloomberg. “If Tad reverses that, expect the shares to rise.”

Ratner, who served as MSG’s CEO for five years, will stay on as vice chairman and join the board of MSG, which is split into three separate parts for sports, media and entertainment, sources told Bloomberg. The company also owns the Beacon Theatre at 2124 Broadway.

Ratner’s MSG renovation project added 20 new luxury suites to the event level, a 10,000-square-foot Delta Sky360 Club in what was previously a storage area and expanded food offerings onto new concourses in the arena’s upper levels. The overhaul was undertaken over the course of three summers and originally estimated to cost between $775 million and $850 million. [Bloomberg]Julie Strickland