Sotheby’s With One Step Closer To The Grave

The stock market is filled with individuals who know the price of everything,
but the value of nothing.

by Philip Arthur Fisher


©Larry Brown from Cartoon Stock

It has been a disastrous year for Sotheby’s, but the writing has been on the wall for a while. A series of unfortunate events has driven Sotheby’s to walk a tightrope, beginning with Bill Ruprecht stepping down in November 2014 -amid criticism- as CEO after being with the company for 34 years. His rookie successor, Tad Smith, and the new amateur directing board committee have exhibited their lack of experience within the art market, refocusing company ideals to make Sotheby’s a marketing brand that favors advertising and technology for online retail. The new management, forgetting that art remains a business where knowledge really matter, has adopted a new strategy limiting PR expenses. This has led to an unprecedented exodus of the company’s best asset: knowledgeable staffers with strong client relationships and more than 300 years of experience. Vicepresidents, Specialists, Worldwide Heads, Chairmen, and even CFOs have abandoned the sinking ship. The resulting feeling of an uncertainty and instability now pervades the glittering glass-and-granite-fronted building on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Personally visiting the venue on Sunday, left us with the distressing feeling of a rundown business, just like a ghost with spiritual emptiness, or a phantasmagoric carcass of what once was one of the world’s largest brokers of fine art.

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