CAA’s David O’Connor to Become CEO of Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden Company is hiring longtime CAA partner David “Doc” O’Connor as its CEO, with the board vote set for Tuesday, Variety has learned.

O’Connor was actively involved in the creation of 9-year-old CAA Sports, which has had a close relationship with MSG. The agency represents many players on the MSG-owned New York Knicks including star forward Carmelo Anthony.

CAA also negotiated MSG’s partnership with JPMorgan Chase in 2010, touted by the agency as “the most lucrative building deal in sports history.”

The MSG CEO position has been vacant since Tad Smith left in March to become president and CEO of Sotheby’s. MSG executive chairman James Dolan assumed MSG leadership at that point while it searched for a new CEO.

MSG filed an initial registration statement in March with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to split its MSG Media regional sports network from its sports-entertainment holdings, which include the Knicks, the NHL’s New York Rangers, the WNBA’s New York Liberty, Radio City Music Hall and the Forum in Inglewood, Calif.

In addition to being a partner, O’Connor also represented notable movie clients including Bruce Willis, Lorne Michaels, Ivan Reitman, Douglas Wick, Gary Ross and John Lee Hancock. He began his career at CAA in the mailroom in 1983, was promoted to a feature film agent shortly thereafter and became a managing partner in 1995.

The New York Post first reported the news. MSG and CAA had no comment.

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