Graphics Market

Looking Back on Sotheby’s Performance Under CEO William Ruprecht

GRAPHIC ARTNEWS

GRAPHIC BY ARTNEWS

This week Sotheby’s released its results for the final quarter of 2014, announcing that, with $938 million in revenue over the course of the full year, it had made about $118 million. That profit was down slightly from the $130 million it made on only $854 million in revenue the previous year. (Skate’s Art Market Notes has more on those results.)

Activists shareholders like Daniel Loeb have contended that the house needs to more aggressively cut costs, and Sotheby’s CEO, William Ruprecht, is on his way out after some 15 years on the job. The above graph examines his tenure. As it shows, profits peaked during the art market boom in 2007, at about $213 million on $917 million in revenue. That towering revenue figure would only eclipsed last year, though yielding only a little more than half as much profit. Sotheby’s stock price, another source of investor anxiety, hangs at about 41—up dramatically from a low of around 7 in 2002, though it began 2000 at 30.

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