Christie’s Americas President Doug Woodham Steps Down

Christie’s incoming CEO Patricia Barbizet Hasn’t hesitated in putting her plans for Christie’s in place. It is only a week after it was announced that chief executive Steven Murphy was leaving the famed auction house, the London-based auctioneer has now confirmed that its president of the Americas division, Doug Woodham, will depart the company at the end of the month, the Financial Times reports.

Previously Mr. Woodham had worked at the crossroads of finance, technology and business transformation, holding positions at UBS Wealth Management and Moody’s KMV. He was also no stranger to the arts, having held, for the past prior to his Christie’s Americas presidency, the role as co-chair of the American Fellows patron program at the Whitney Museum.

Simultaneously two senior Christie’s executives will also see their positions ‘improve’. Star auctioneer Jussi Pylkkänen, who until now was president of the Europe division, has been appointed global president. Stephen Brooks’s COO post will be enhanced to global COO, which will include extra responsibilities in corporate activities.

Steven Murphy’s departure was attributed to Christie’s alleged diminishing profit margins. Though, this cannot be verified as the company is privately owned and thus not bound to reveal its figures.

Patricia Barbizet is a loyal aide to François Pinault, the owner of Christie’s via the holding company Artémis. Her appointment at the head of Christie’s complement a string of high-powered positions at the heart of the Pinault empire. Barbizet is CEO of Financière Pinault and Artémis, vice-chair of the board of Kering, and has been Christie’s chairman for 15 years. This had led to many speculating that Barbizet’s new position may well be a temporary measure.

There have been a number of shake-ups of late in the auction world it would seem. The departure of Steven Murphy came just weeks after Sotheby’s chief executive Bill Ruprecht, resigned, ending a long proxy battle with Sotheby’s principal stakeholder Dan Loeb.

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