Sotheby’s malaise is a result of a lack of leadership and strategic vision at its highest levels…Sotheby’s requires a CEO with sufficient knowledge of the global art markets to make critical decisions, who can move seamlessly around the globe building the business and strengthening client relationships. Respectfully, we do not see evidence that you are the right person to repair the Company and drive its growth in today’s dynamic global art market.
So the $5.7 million or so Sotheby’s spent winning that case only to completely capitulate three days later didn’t do it any good. But it certainly looks likely to not be so great for newly-minted Sotheby’s directors and other such activist investors. Read more »
Back in October, hedge fund manager Dan Loeb sent a letter William Ruprecht, to the CEO of Sotheby’s, in which he made the following points:
Sotheby’s is completely ignorant about contemporary art
Ruprecht is overpaid
Sotheby’s is a joke compared to Christie’s
In spite of all this, Sotheby’s future can be salvaged, but it’ll take firing Ruprecht and adding Loeb and a few directors of Loeb’s choice to the board
Shockingly, Sotheby’s did not appreciate the constructive criticism, and adopted a poison pill to ward off Loeb and Co. Last week, Loeb reiterated his position in an open letter to Sotheby’s shareholders, in which he underscored that, in his professional opinion, the auction house knows nothing about selling art. (He also reminded them to vote Loeb ’14 at the company’s annual meeting in May.)
Team Sotheby’s, apparently sick of Loeb’s shit, did what any corporate entity does when it’s decided its done play Mr. Nice Guy: assembled its top men and women in a conference room and declared that no one could leave until they’d come up with a 53-slide PowerPoint rebuttal.
Said rebuttal can be viewed in its entirety here, but it mostly boils down to: Read more »
Ahead of the company’s annual meeting on May 6, he would like to remind shareholders what those two problems are: 1. He (still) thinks management sucks and 2. In Loeb’s opinion, Team Sotheby’s knows dick about selling art. Read more »