After a rocky year with investors, a near coup d’état, and lower than expected profits Sotheby’s has announced Tad Smith as the new President and Chief Executive Officer, effective March 31, 2015. He succeeds William F. Ruprecht who has served as CEO since 2000. Smith will also join the Sotheby’s Board of Directors Smith, 49, has been President and Chief Executive Officer of the Madison Square Garden Company since February 2014. In this role, he oversaw the overall strategy and day-to-day operations of MSG Sports, MSG Media, and MSG Entertainment. The auction house also announced it will separate the roles of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and that the Board has elected Lead Independent Director Domenico De Sole to succeed Ruprecht as Chairman of the Board.
Tad Smith most recently served as President and CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company. He was previously President, Local Media at Cablevision Systems Corporation, where he was responsible for Cablevision Media Sales, News 12 Networks, and Newsday Media Group. Prior to joining Cablevision in 2009, Smith was at Reed Elsevier Group PLC, a worldwide provider of business information, where he was most recently CEO of its U.S. business-to-business division, Reed Business Information (RBI). Before joining Reed Elsevier in 2000, he was an internet executive at Starwood Hotels and Resorts, a corporate executive in New York and London for music company BMG Entertainment, and also advised companies on strategy and performance improvement in McKinsey & Company’s Los Angeles office. Smith received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University, where he has taught the popular course Strategy and Finance for Entertainment, Media, and Technology Companies to more than 800 students over the past 15 years.
“Tad Smith’s appointment is the result of a thorough search process to identify an extraordinary leader to build on Sotheby’s strengths,” said De Sole. “The Board is unanimous in its view that Tad is the ideal CEO for the Company. He is a proven leader and value creator with CEO experience, strategic vision, brand-building expertise, an ability to understand and serve client needs, and a track record of driving revenue and profit growth. He also has a passion for art and collectibles. We welcome him to Sotheby’s. On behalf of the Board, I also want to thank Bill Ruprecht for his exemplary service over the past 35 years. We deeply appreciate all he has done to put Sotheby’s in a strong position for continued success.”
Smith said, “With its strong relationships in the art world, trusted brand, and exceptional team, Sotheby’s has a very bright future. I am thrilled to join the company and look forward to tapping my experiences from related industries to help develop and implement its growth strategy, accelerate adoption of new technologies, allocate capital effectively, and drive the creation of sustainable shareholder value in the coming years.”