Leaning in: Amy Cappellazzo will now also oversee Old Master and 19th-century paintings and drawings, as well as prints and photographs Image courtesy of Sotheby's
In the first real glimpse of his vision for Sothebys, the new chief executive Charles Stewart announced last week he is reorganising the auction house into two global divisions—Fine Arts and Luxury, Art and Objects.
Amy Cappellazzo, the chairman of Sothebys current Fine Art division—which includes contemporary, Impressionist, Modern British and Latin American art—will head up the expanded division. In her larger role, Cappellazzo will also oversee Old Master and 19th-century paintings and drawings, as well as prints and photographs.
Cappellazzo founded the advisory firm Art Agency, Partners with Allan Schwartzman in 2014, which was acquired by Sothebys in 2016 for $85m. She is expected to outline her plans for the new Fine Arts division in the next week.
A second, “equally important”, division will cover luxury items including jewellery, watches, wine, 20th-century design, Asian art, books and decorative art. In an email sent to staff last week, Stewart identified these categories as “the key growth areas” for the firm. Steps in this direction are already being made—Sothebys launched its own wine label in October, while Wenhao Yu was appointed deputy chairman of jewellery in Asia earlier this month.
Leadership of the new division is expected to be announced in the “near term”, says Stewart, who was brought in by the firms new owner Patrick Drahi at the end of October, replacing Tad Smith, who had been Sothebys chief executive since 2015. Stewart was formerly the co-president and chief financial officer at Drahis cable television provider Altice USA.
The reorganisation, which has seen around 20 to 30 senior executive layoffs in the past month, is an attempt to “reduce the current silos that exists between fine arts, business development and regional organisations”, Stewart says.
Among those that have left are Valentino Carlotti, the head of business development; chief transformation officer Ken Citron; senior vice president Jon Auerbach; Jan Prasens, the executive vice president and managing director of Europe and the Middle East; general counsel Jon Olsoff; chief global compliance counsel Jane Levine; Karen Sutton, the executive vice president, and August Uribe, who joined Sothebys in 1991 and was most recently head of the Impressionist and Modern art department and vice chairman of the fine arts division in New York.
Sebastian Fahey is relocating from Hong Kong to London in early 2020 to take up the post of managing director of Europe, the Middle East, Russia and India. For now, there are no other changes to the management structure in Asia.
Those named as having left are understood to have taken voluntary redundancy, many remunerated with generous severance packages (others have been fired). Carlotti received $3.9m, according to an earlier SEC filing, which also revealed that Smiths severance deal was worth $28.2m (including $16.9m of Sothebys shares)—this despite barely growing Sothebys stock price. Drahi is understood to be drastically scaling back on such compensation deals.
This week has seen another smaller round of departures including Clive Lord, Sothebys chief operating officer in London. There are rumours of further redundancies early next year as Drahi forges ahead with his cost cutting, which Bloomberg estimates to be in the region of $66m, but some say could be as much as Read More – Source