Sotheby’s has announced that its head of Sotheby’s Financial Services, who has been in the position for a decade as the company placed greater emphasis on growing its loan book, will now become the Managing Director of Sotheby’s Europe with oversight of Russian, India, Africa and the Middle East.
While he will be based in London, Jan’s responsibilities will extend across each of these regions, where he will lead and develop both Sotheby’s activities and staff. A seasoned member of Sotheby’s senior management team, Jan has spent the past decade building Sotheby’s Financial Services from a small lender focused on supporting auction transactions, to the largest asset-backed lender in the art market today.
Prasens’s experience with some of Sotheby’s top clients and his micro-level understanding of the firm’s business from his years in the finance department suggest he has the opportunity to at least try to attack some of the fundamental issues involved in growing Sotheby’s into a broader services-for-art-as-an-asset business.
The move also leaves open who might be the next person to lead Sotheby’s Financial Services. Growing financial services had been one of the goals of Sotheby’s new management. Since that time Sotheby’s has remained the largest asset-backed lender in the art market (though often with terms geared toward advancing Sotheby’s interests as a trading platform.) But the loan book has not grown since its initial surge. Indeed, it has been pulled back slightly. The next head of SFS will have some interesting strategic and structural choices to make.