Smith, who will begin his new role at the international auction house on 31 March, succeeds William Ruprecht who has served as chief executive since 2000.
“The board is unanimous in its view that Tad is the ideal CEO for the company,” said Domenico De Sole, lead independent director at Sotheby’s. “He is a proven leader and value creator with CEO experience, strategic vision, brand-building expertise, an ability to understand and serve client needs, and a track record of driving revenue and profit growth.
“He also has a passion for art and collectibles,” he added.
Smith has served as president and chief executive of the Madison Square Garden Company since February 2014, and before that he spent five years in various executive posts at the cable television company Cablevision.