Although it is highly unusual for a minority investor without a position on a corporate board to begin his own independent search for a new CEO, Daniel Loeb is a highly unusual investor who was instrumental in removing Yahoo!’s previous CEO and hiring his own choice in Marisa Mayer.
The close of Loeb’s letter includes this comment identifying two internal candidates and acknowledging their own informal conversations:
Based on our due diligence and discussions with participants in the art market, there are at least two internal candidates for the CEO position who warrant serious consideration. We have already begun informal discussions with outside candidates and would welcome the opportunity to bring the internal candidates into a formal process.
Given the success of Steven Murphy at Christie’s—much of Loeb’s complaint seems to be that Sotheby’s doesn’t have a digital strategy to follow Christie’s highly successful foray into online sales—who came from outside the auction business, art world and luxury businesses, the question is who is Loeb talking to and what qualities would they bring to the job that might satisfy the activist investor.
Third Point Letter to Sotheby’s
Investor Launches Attack on Sotheby’s (Wall Street Journal)