Some of the shoes are dropping at Sotheby’s today as the firm announces that its CFO, William Sheridan, is stepping down in favor of a Goldman Sachs partner, Patrick McClymont. The three activist shareholders with a substantial stake in the firm have been agitating for changes in management and a more aggressive approach to the firm’s finances.
Given McClymont’s previous relationship with Sotheby’s, the hire would appear to be a defensive move on Ruprecht’s part to satisfy his new investors:
Mr. Sheridan will remain with Sotheby’s through the end of 2013 to support the CFO transition. Mr. McClymont joins Sotheby’s from Goldman, Sachs & Co., where he has been a partner and managing director in the Investment Banking Division. In that position, he led client relationships and provided strategic and corporate finance advice to companies across multiple industry sectors, including Sotheby’s, which he advised on strategic and financial matters for a number of years. A 1991 graduate of Cornell University, he joined Goldman, Sachs in 1998. “We are very fortunate that in Patrick we have someone with sterling credentials, extensive financial expertise, and a deep knowledge of our business. We welcome him to Sotheby’s,” said Mr. Ruprecht.
Philip Boroff at Bloomberg spoke with Sotheby’s about the change:
Andrew Gully, a Sotheby’s spokesman, said the move is unrelated to corporate activism by investor Daniel Loeb, whose Third Point LLC has taken a 5.7 percent stake in the auction house, according to an Aug. 26 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.The hedge-fund company “intends to engage in a dialogue with members of the board or management” that may relate “to potential changes of strategy and leadership,” the filing said.
Sotheby’s Announces New Chief Financial Officer (Global Newswire)