July 30, 2008
Madison Square Garden Shuffles Management
Steve Mills, Madison Square Garden’s president and chief operating officer, was reassigned Tuesday to a less authoritative role as president of business operations.
Scott O’Neil will replace Mills as president of MSG Sports. O’Neil served as the NBA’s senior vice president of team marketing and operations since 2004. He oversaw all business operations, sales, and services, sponsorship development, and marketing.
The moves come eight months after Anucha Browne Sanders, former senior vice president for marketing and business operations at MSG, was awarded $11.5 million in a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit against MSG and former New York Knicks basketball coach Isaiah Thomas. She alleged that Thomas verbally abused her and made sexual advances toward her during the two years they worked together. MSG’s chairman, James Dolan, fired Sanders after an in-house investigation found no evidence of her accusations.
Thomas maintains that he never sexually harassed Sanders.
According to the Associated Press, Mills had already lost power in April when Donnie Walsh was hired to replace Thomas as president of the New York Knicks. It was announced then that Walsh would report directly to Dolan.
Between 1983 and 1989, Mills worked as an account executive in the corporate sponsorship department of NBA properties, as programs manager for NBA properties, then as vice president of the special events department. He also served as vice president of corporate development and senior vice president of basketball and player development before becoming president of sports team operations for MSG in 2003.
As chief operating officer, he oversaw business operations of all MSG’s sports teams, including the Knicks, the Rangers, and the WNBA’s New York Liberty.
Mills was BLACK ENTERPRISE‘s Corporate Executive of the Year in 2003 and was listed as one of the top Front Office Team Executives on B.E.’s 50 Most Powerful Blacks in Sports in 2005.