Sources confirmed a report in Bloomberg News Friday that Madison Square Garden Co. CEO Hank Ratner (left) will be replaced by Cablevision Systems Local Media Group president Tad Smith, ending a four-year reign as chief of The World’s Most Famous Arena for the long time executive.
Ratner added the CEO title at MSG, which includes the entertainment venues Madison Square Garden Arena, Radio City Music Hall, The Beacon Theater, the Chicago Theater and The Forum in Los Angeles, regional sports networks MSG and MSG-Plus and professional sports teams the New York Knicks, The New York Rangers and the New York Liberty, in 2010 after the company was spin off from Cablevision Systems. He had been vice chairman of MSG since 2003. Ratner also serves as vice chairman of Cablevision and is a 26-year veteran of the company, starting with its former Rainbow Media programming arm in 1988. Ratner was instrumental in building Rainbow, which later became AMC Networks and was spun off as a separate publicly traded company in 2011. Moving over to MSG in 2003, Ratner helped prep that division for its ultimate spin-off in 2010 and helped steer it through a major arena renovation.
According to a report in Bloomberg, and confirmed by sources familiar with the matter, Ratner will continue as vice chairman at MSG, but Smith as CEO will head up day to day operations.
Smith joined Cablevision as president of its Local Media Group in 2009 after serving as CEO of Reed Elsevier’s Reed Business Information, former parent of Multichannel News. At Cablevision, Smith was in charge of digital and linear television advertising sales division; News 12 Networks, and Newsday Media Group, which includes Long Island., N.Y., daily newspaper Newsday, and amNewYork, a free daily newspaper which serves New York City.