Today Amy Cappellazzo emerged as Sotheby’s voice on the art market. During Sotheby’s early earnings conference call this morning, CEO Tad Smith diverted an analyst’s question calling for a market forecast to Cappellazzo. She ran with the ball declaring that the market would behave “a little more confidently than people predict.”
Then Cappellazzo let loose with a full-throated Amy-ism when she declared private sales “infinitely scalable.”
The meaning of that remark was more apparent this afternoon when Scott Reyburn’s column came out with quotes from an interview with Cappellazzo on the firm’s new strategy. According to Cappellazzo, auctions are now more marketing for the real business, private sales:
“The values have increased, but the margins have gone down,” Ms. Cappellazzo said last week in an interview in London, where she was meeting Sotheby’s staff members. “The auction business is ultimately not scalable. No one will sit through more than 75 lots comfortably.”
“And you can’t have an auction every month,” she added. “You can do private sales every day.”
Ms. Cappellazzo said she still regarded auctions as a “marquee calling card,” but that building the private sales business is a key to Sotheby’s future growth and profitability.
With Acquisition, Sotheby’s Shifts Strategy (The New York Times)