Dave Checketts resigned as president and chief executive officer of Madison Square Garden after another year of disappointing performances by the arena's two main teams.
The move, announced by James L. Dolan, chairman of the Garden and president and chief executive officer of Cablevision, was described Tuesday as a mutual decision.
Reports that Checketts, who grew up in Bountiful, would be leaving the job he's held since 1994 first surfaced Monday night on WFAN Radio in New York and The New York Times' Web site.
"All of us at Cablevision and MSG owe Dave Checketts a debt of gratitude for 10 years of service," Dolan said in a statement. "Dave can leave MSG with great pride in his considerable accomplishments, both at the Garden and Radio City Music Hall. We are optimistic that new leadership at MSG will build on the efforts, successes and innovations of Dave's tenure."
Checketts came to the Garden in March 1991 as president of the New York Knicks. He previously was vice president for development of the NBA and, for six years, was president of the Utah Jazz.
He became the Garden's interim president Sept. 20, 1994 and was given the full-time job the following March 13.
"I succeeded in turning a building into a business," the Cablevision statement quoted Checketts as saying. "Now the time has come for me to pursue some very exciting opportunities which I will be in position to talk about in the very near future.
"I have had 10 great years with the Knicks and MSG and I'll never forget them. I have been very fortunate to have watched over the greatest show on earth here in New York City."
Dolan said he would oversee Garden activities on an interim basis, assisted by vice chairman Robert Lemle and other senior company executives, and that Checketts would continue his relationship with the Garden in a consulting role.
This has not been the best of times for the Garden's main sports tenants — the Knicks and the New York Rangers.
The Knicks were knocked out in the first round of the NBA playoffs for the first time since 1991, and the Rangers have not reached the NHL postseason the last four years — despite having the league's highest payroll.
Also under Checketts' watch was the WNBA's New York Liberty and the MSG Network — which televises games involving all three teams as well as the New York Yankees.
Last month, MSG and the Yankees settled a lawsuit that will allow the team to start its own television network next year.
During his tenure, management changes were made with both the Knicks and Rangers.
Ernie Grunfeld was fired as the Knicks GM in 1999, followed by the dismissal of Rangers president and GM Neil Smith last year.