The Steven Murphy era at Christie’s has officially ended. That’s because the last of Murphy’s initiatives to transform the auction house into a fashion-oriented, digital retail platform has now ended with the news that Jeremy Langmead, recently profiled in the Wall Street Journal, has returned to the company he came from, Net-a-Porter:
Langmead has been appointed as the new brand and content director of Mr Porter, a new role which previously didn’t exist at Mr Porter. He will return to the luxury online retailer in June. Talking to WWD, Langmead said: “A year away was far too long”. In his new role he’ll be responsible for developing the content strategy for Mr Porter, by pushing the editorial content and creative brand marketing on a global level. He’ll be in charge of the content and marketing teams worldwide.
The Journal’s take somewhat explains itself as they paper used Langmead’s home as a metaphor
Langmead was appointed as Mr Porter first ever editor-in-chief in 2010, having previously held the same title at Esquire UK and Wallpaper. He joined auction house Christie’s in February last year, taking on the role of Chief Content Officer, responsible for developing the editorial content across all channels. With a successful career in fashion journalism, Langmead has come to be considered as a voice of authority in the luxury fashion industry.
Rescuing a noble house in reduced circumstances makes for a compelling story. But Youngsbury also raises challenges for Langmead, who is faced with updating the 270-year-old estate while maintaining its heritage. You could say nearly the same thing about the owner of Christie’s, François Pinault, the Frenchman whose private holding company, Groupe Artemis, acquired the 249-year-old auction house in 1998—the first time in its history that ownership passed to a non-Briton—and seeks to maintain its position as the world’s pre-eminent broker of art and objects. He too knows that changes need to be made. Company profits have not always kept pace with the frothy art market; in December, Christie’s announced the appointment of a new CEO, Patricia Barbizet, a trusted Pinault deputy and the CEO of Artemis, to replace the outgoing Steven Murphy. It’s expected that she will re-examine the auctioneer’s business model in the context of the fashion and luxury goods businesses that have long been Pinault’s bread and butter.