Christie’s CEO Steven Murphy is to step down. The surprise announcement comes shortly after rival auction house Sotheby’s ousted its CEO, William Ruprecht.
Murphy has been CEO at Christie’s for four years. Patricia Barbizet will now become Chief Executive Officer as well as continuing in her role as Chairman of Christie’s.
Murphy said that when he joined Christie’s, he was tasked with helping to modernise the company and enabling it to grow in the new world in which it now operates, while maintaining its spirit and culture and consistently focusing on the art itself.
“We have now successfully concluded an ambitious three year plan and the company is in the strongest leadership position in its history,” he said. “I have loved everything about working with the team here at Christie’s and am extremely proud of what we have collectively achieved.”
In a statement Patricia Barbizet commented: “We are extremely grateful to Steven for his vision, leadership and commitment to Christie’s since he joined in 2010. During his tenure Christie’s has assumed a truly leading position, with sales and profits at their highest ever levels. Over this period the company ventured into new markets in India and China, launched successful online auction sales and positioned itself at the forefront of the digital transformation in the art market.
“Having completed this core work, the company is positioned for its next phase of development and I look forward to leading the global team into a new chapter of innovation and excellence as we take Christie’s to the next level.”