Sotheby’s names new lead independent director

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The board of directors at Sotheby’s has unanimously elected Domenico De Sole as lead independent director. De Sole is co-founder and chairman of luxury retailer Tom Ford international and former president and chief executive officer of Gucci Group NV, which he took from a nearly-bankrupt single brand to a $3 billion luxury goods conglomerate.

In addition to his executive leadership positions, De Sole has served on numerous public company boards. He is a current director at Gap and Newell Rubbermais and a former director at Proctor & Gamble, Delta Airlines, Bausch & Lomb and Telecom Italia, among others. He is a passionate and long-time collector of contemporary art and wine.

Steven Dodge, who has served as lead independent director since the position was created in December 2012, sought a return to the role of director because of increased personal and family matters that are unrelated to Sotheby’s.

“We’re very excited that Domenico has joined the board and has also agreed to serve as lead independent director,” said Sotheby’s chairman, president and chief executive officer William Ruprecht. “He brings blue chip experience in the high-end luxury space, in board leadership, and in strategic executive roles envisioning the future of elite brands. The board is grateful for the important contributions Steve Dodge made as lead independent director during this past year and feels fortunate that he will continue to provide wise and invaluable counsel as a director.”

De Sole said: “Sotheby’s is a unique global art company with a proud tradition of nearly 300 years and equally exciting opportunities ahead. I am eager to work with Bill and the other directors to strengthen and grow the company, serve our clients and deliver value to our shareholders.”

The lead independent director is responsible for a series of leadership duties, including presiding at executive sessions of the non-management directors, serving as a liaison between the chairman and directors, and shaping the agenda for meetings of the board. The position was created in December 2012 when Ruprecht was named chairman in addition to his duties as president and CEO to ensure that Sotheby’s meets best practices in corporate governance.