Madison Square Garden Co. boss David O’Connor was ousted from the entertainment company after losing a face-off with Irving Azoff, two sources close to the situation told The Post.
In a move on Monday that shocked many in the arena entertainment business, O’Connor, a former Hollywood talent agent, was ousted immediately as CEO of the Dolan-family controlled company.
No reason for the departure was given.
But Azoff’s fingerprints were all over O’Connor’s walking papers, sources said.
Once billed the most powerful man in the music business, Azoff, 69, is close to MSG Chairman James Dolan and has been his partner in Azoff MSG Entertainment since 2013.
Azoff, who serves as the unit’s chairman and chief executive, has been steadily growing MSG’s events business.
Azoff was frustrated with O’Connor’s handling of MSG’s efforts at getting a 17,500 seat arena built in Las Vegas, sources said.
MSG announced in May 2016 it would build the arena just off the Las Vegas strip and was still working this week on getting the necessary permits, sources said.
“This [project] was more complex than “Doc” O’Connor realized,” one critic said.
MSG, in announcing on Nov. 13 that O’Connor had stepped down, effective immediately, said Dolan would assume the CEO role on an interim basis.
An MSG spokesman declined to comment on the reasons behind the departure.
“We do not comment on employee matters or rumors related to corporate actions,” the spokesman said.
However, whispered one person familiar with the situation, “It’s the Irving Azoff show at MSG.”
Azoff in 2014 also clashed with former MSG President and CEO Hank Ratner, leading to Ratner’s resignation that year, sources said at the time.
MSG’s complaint with Ratner was he was too slow to buy and build new venues, sources said.
Azoff exited as executive chairman of concert promoter Live Nation at the end of 2012 and the next year launched Azoff MSG Entertainment with Dolan.
In addition to The Garden, MSG owns Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theatre in New York, the Los Angeles Forum, the Chicago Theatre and the Wang Theatre in Boston and it operates the Tao Group’s nightlife venues.
O’Connor could not be reached.