The editors at Bloomberg seem to be fixated on the future of Christie’s to an extent even greater than the art market. Yesterday they ran another story on the auction house. This time their sources say Patricia Barbizet has been installed to restructure the company. That move would make some sense given the background of the executive and the story of how Steven Murphy came to be CEO.
Christie’s International Plc’s Patricia Barbizet, who was named chief executive officer last week after the surprise exit of Steven Murphy, will review options that may include a restructuring of the world’s largest auction house, said people familiar with the company’s plans.
French billionaire Francois Pinault brought in longtime adviser Barbizet, 59, to evaluate the future strategy of the company he took private for $1.2 billion in 1998, said one of the people, who asked not to be named as the matter is private. Pinault doesn’t plan to sell Christie’s, a spokeswoman for his holding company said.
Pinault has had previous opportunities to sell Christie’s at a good valuation that he has declined. That history with the Al-Thani family, where the Emir took the extraordinary measure of publicly stating his interest in buying the firm to the Financial Times as a way to bring Pinault to the bargaining table. M. Pinault declined, instead he chose to install Murphy to remake the firm.
One way to see the change of leadership at Christie’s is that time simply ran out on that four-year project.