HomeBusinessSphere CFO Gautam Ranji quit after James Dolan’s ‘yelling’: source
Sphere CFO Gautam Ranji quit after James Dolan’s ‘yelling’: source
November 7, 2023
The financial chief for Madison Square Garden’s splashy new Sphere arena in Las Vegas abruptly quit his job last week after facing an angry bout of “yelling and screaming” from his billionaire boss James Dolan, The Post has learned.
Gautam Ranji — who had worked as chief financial officer at Dolan’s $2.3 billion, high-tech venue in Las Vegas for just 11 months — resigned from his job last Monday, indicating his last day would be Friday, Sphere Entertainment revealed in a securities filing late Friday.
Ranji’s exit was “not a result of any disagreement with the company’s independent auditors or any member of management on any matter of accounting principles or practices, financial statement disclosure or internal controls,” the company said in the filing.
The filing didn’t elaborate, but according to a source with knowledge, Ranji delivered his notice in the middle of a meeting with a handful of senior execs including Dolan, the bombastic owner of the Knicks.
The meeting had been called partly to prep for the company’s quarterly earnings presentation, which is slated for Wednesday, according to insiders.
According to a source with knowledge, Dolan was “yelling and screaming” at Ranji, who in response “calmly” left the room and gave his notice to the company’s general counsel.
“Gautam is very calm and usually can take it and roll with it,” said a source, who explained that the CFO had enough of Dolan’s hair-trigger temper.
Dolan, meanwhile, “is the consummate hammer,” the source added. “He treats everyone like a nail.”
Ranji — who had been the CFO of the Sphere, which also operates Madison Square Garden Networks, since last year — declined to comment on Tuesday.
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“They did a wonderful job burying the news,” said the source. “A CFO quitting less than a week before earnings is unheard of.”
“The publicly filed 8K clearly outlines that his departure from the Company was not a result of any disagreement with the Company’s auditors or any member of management,” a Sphere Entertainment spokeswoman said.
Dolan’s empire has seen its fair share of departures recently.
Dolan has taken a hands-on role leading the Sphere since MSG Sphere President Lucas Watson left the company in February after he was hired the previous March.
Christina Spade, CEO of Dolan’s cable TV broadcaster AMC Networks, left the company last November after a three-month stint in the top job.
She has been at the company in various roles since 2021.
MSG Sports President and CEO Andrew Lustgarten stepped down in September 2022 after 8 years at the company.
The Sphere is expected to post a quarterly loss of $1.27 a share, according to a survey of Wall Street analysts.
Revenues are expected to be $117.3 million, down a whopping 71% from the year-ago quarter.
Dolan, the billionaire cable TV scion who owns the Knicks, the Rangers, Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, and other venues, shelled out more than $2 billion to build The Sphere — more than $1 billion over budget.