Just two years after taking the helm of Christie’s, Patricia Barbizet will leave her post as CEO effective January 1, 2017, the auction house announced in a press release. Her replacement will be Guillaume Cerutti, who is currently president of Christie’s Europe, Middle East, Russia, and India operations.
“Two years ago I asked Patricia to take the helm of Christie’s and adapt the organization to the new challenges of the art industry and market,” François Pinault, owner of Christie’s, said in a statement. “During these two years, she has worked tirelessly on the key milestones we had established to capitalize upon Christie’s leadership. She has led the company to a point where it is appropriate to pass the baton to Guillaume Cerutti. It will now be for him to push this advantage even further. Patricia and I will provide Guillaume our continuous support so Christie’s can thrive for the greatest benefit of its clients, its specialist community, its employees and all art connoisseurs.”
In the last two years, sales at Christie’s have dropped significantly. Its total haul at November’s art sales was $618 million, about half of the previous year’s total of $1.1 billion during the same period.
It’s just the most recent shakeup at Christie’s, which has seen a few defections in the second half of 2016. Last week, postwar and contemporary chairman Brett Gorvy announced he was leaving after 23 years to join start the Lévy Gorvy gallery with fellow ex-Christie’s employee Dominique Lévy.
Barbizet’s appointment in late 2014 brought with it reshuffling among the top ranks at Christie’s, but it’s unclear what changes will be implemented by incoming boss Cerutti.
“It is a great honor to take forward the company’s strategic initiatives and continue the successful work that have been implemented under Patricia’s tutorship,” Cerutti said in a statement. “At year-end, Christie’s continues to lead the market globally, and is poised for continued success. I will rely on Christie’s exceptional talents to build and adapt the company for the future.”
Barbizet will stay on as CEO of the Pinault family’s holding company, Artémis.