He’s not the first former Goldman Sachs partner to join Sotheby’s but the announcement yesterday that Valentino Carlotti would become an Executive Vice President at Sotheby’s tasked with heading business development does raise some interesting points about the future of the firm.
Unlike Patrick McClymont, the previous ex-Goldman partner to join Sotheby’s, Carolotti doesn’t have a finance role. A former salesman and head of the Investment and Merchant Banking, Carlotti’s skill set is in managing the kinds of client relations strategies bankers call ‘coverage,’ which is a mix of sales and client service. Someone has to handle the client but also be able to bring in the right experts to help meet the clients needs.
A big part of Sotheby’s strategy is to remake the auction house into something like the big banks but for tangible assets. That’s one reason the auction house bought Art Agency, Partners to begin to build an advisory business like a bank’s wealth management division. Just like at the banks, Sotheby’s has a trading floor (the auction room) and a private sales division. There’s also SFS to help clients with financing.
All of those new divisions put some pressure on the client-facing team who must already dance delicately with the specialists who are trying to cultivate bids from many of the same clients.
How to manage the chaos creatively? Bring in someone with experience designing and managing client coverage teams around the world and across asset classes. The 51-year-old Carlotti, like all Goldman partners with 5-handle age, wasn’t long for that firm. And his experience on the boards of the Guggenheim Museum (once the home of rainmaker Lisa Dennison) The Pennsylvania Academy for The Fine Arts, and Guild Hall put Carlotti right in the mix of Sotheby’s crowd.
With all of that going for him, Carlotti should hit the ground running on October 30th.
Here’s his bio from the press release:
Mr. Carlotti most recently served as the Global Business Partner for the Investment Banking and Merchant Banking Divisions. Prior to his role as Global Business Partner for the Investment Banking and Merchant Banking Divisions, beginning his career in investment banking, Mr. Carlotti held various senior positions within the company including: president of the Goldman Sachs Brazil Bank in Sao Paulo, global head of the Securities Division Institutional Client Group, a member of the Securities Division management team and an institutional salesperson in the Equities Division. Mr. Carlotti joined Goldman Sachs in 1994, was named managing director in 2001, and partner in 2006.
As a dedicated philanthropist and collector himself, Mr. Carlotti is actively involved in numerous philanthropic organizations dedicated to education, youth development and the arts. He currently serves as a Trustee on the boards of Carnegie Hall, The Guggenheim Museum, American Ballet Theatre, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Pennsylvania Academy for The Fine Arts, Guild Hall, Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), and The Boys’ Club of New York, and as a member of the executive committee of several of these.