When the French-Israeli telecommunications magnate Patrick Drahi announced a deal in June to take Sotheby’s auction house private, he said that “we are very enthusiastic to build together with its current management and their teams the future of Sotheby’s.” Since then, though, there have been major changes atop the company, and today brings the most dramatic move yet, with Charles F. Stewart, a Drahi associate, being named CEO. He takes the place of Tad Smith, who will become a senior adviser to the new leader.
Stewart has been co-president and chief financial officer of Altice, Drahi’s cable company, since 2016.
This is not the first time that Drahi looked to his own stable to fill executive roles at Sotheby’s. Earlier this month, he replaced former chief commercial officer John Cahill and chief financial officer Mike Goss with Jean-Luc Berrebi, who has worked as CEO of Drahi’s family office. Stewart begins in his role effective immediately.
“I have known him for many years and have been impressed by his appetite for innovation, taking smart risks, and challenging the status quo,” Drahi said of Stewart in a statement. “He has a proven record of driving growth and is ideally positioned to create value for Sotheby’s clients and our outstanding team.”
Prior to working with Itau BBA, Stewart logged about two decades in investment banking at Morgan Stanley. At Altice, he helped lead the company’s $2.1 billion IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. Stewart said of the appointment, “I am thrilled to be joining such a successful and storied organization”
Drahi added that, during Smith’s tenure, “Sotheby’s reached a new level of success during his tenure and I am delighted we will continue to benefit from his experience in an advisory capacity.”