Tad Smith takes over at Sotheby’s tomorrow and Bloomberg ties to make some sense of his hiring. Although the story swings wildly from odd assertions that the board has purposefully installed an “interim” CEO to anodyne endorsements from activist shareholder Daniel Loeb:
“His track record is impressive — from creating value to developing strategy to inspiring teams to leading technological innovation and growing global brands,” Dan Loeb, the activist investor who won a Sotheby’s board seat last May after a bitter proxy fight, said in an e-mail.
Within the story, however, there is a clue that suggests the board may be embarking upon a radical and very risky strategy for Sotheby’s:
At MSG, where he started in February 2014, Smith helped the company launch MSG GO, an app that allows users to watch live New York Knicks basketball games on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. He also introduced promotions that targeted patrons depending where they sat in the venue.“The idea is great,” said Richard Tullo, an analyst at Albert Fried & Co. who covers MSG. “If you are sitting in the poor seats, you get targeted credit cards ads. If you are seated lower down, you get targeted promotions for wealth management.”
Smith honed the idea at Cablevision, where he had been president of local media, digital and linear television sales, the News 12 Networks and the Newsday Media Group. Cablevision was spun off five years ago from the publicly held MSG, which owns and operates the Knicks and the National Hockey League’s New York Rangers as well as its namesake arena in New York and Radio City Music Hall.
“He is a media sales consultant at heart,” Tullo said.
Art Degree Not Needed: New Sotheby’s CEO Offers Technology Savvy (Bloomberg Business)