The PR team at Sotheby’s isn’t holding back after Christie’s self-inflicted wound last week. Sotheby’s is on a major PR offensive after suffering nearly a year of de-stabilizing uncertainty during their board fight. The auction house wants to draw attention to its measured transition from current CEO Bill Ruprecht to whomever comes next. This stands in marked contrast to the abrupt departure of Steven Murphy from Christie’s last week. Last month, Chrsitie’s was unbeatable. Here’s how the FT tells it today:
“It isn’t just a mark of respect — it’s comforting for both the board and all Sotheby’s staff to have him there in the transition period. And we will have him here until the new CEO comes on board. Frankly, that is our style. I can’t stress how proud I am of how our company and how we are handling this transition — it’s dignified and transparent and beneficial for all. ”
Both men are keen to stress that Sotheby’s, which narrowed its losses to $27.7m in the last quarter, has generated $2bn worth of sales in October and November across a broad swath of categories.
“What makes our business uniquely sustainable is that we are broad-based, we don’t depend upon any one region or category to drive our success. It’s a critical component of our business model. We’ve just hosted the most important African Art, Latin American Art, single owner and Old Master sales. You can’t depend on one single sector,” said Mr Ruprecht.
Christie’s, by contrast, generates the lion’s share of revenues from its postwar and contemporary division. Its New York November sale generated $853m, smashing records to become the biggest auction in history.
Bill Ruprecht to hold fort at Sotheby’s amid hunt for successor (FT.com)