Simon de Pury Becomes Chairman of Auction House
The news that Bernd Runge will become CEO of Phillips de Pury as Simon de Pury takes on the role of chairman was overshadowed by the somewhat irrelevant fact that Runge had worked for the Stasi in the 1980s.
Bloomberg reported it this way:
Voted Germany’s “Media Man of 2003,” Runge was head of Conde Nast Germany when it launched the German version of “Vanity Fair.”
In May 2004 the German government released documents that revealed Runge worked as a spy codenamed “Olden” for the East German Stasi secret police from 1981 to 1989, said the Telegraph’s Web site www.telegraph.co.uk and the German news magazine FOCUS.
Phillips said it was aware of Runge’s involvement with the Stasi.
“It’s not something that clouds his achievements at Conde Nast or his ability to do the job here,” said Childs, speaking on behalf of the company.
But the bigger question is how Runge and de Pury will be able to make space in the market for the much smaller auction house now that sale rooms are contracting. Runge’s role as a magazine executive offers little clue because the businesses are so different.