Auctionata and Paddle8 Appoint New CEO

It's been an eventful few years for the two start-ups.

Auctionata | Paddle8 CEO Dr. Thomas Hesse. Courtesy obs/Auctionata AG

Back in May, online auctions start-ups Paddle8 and Auctionata announced their merger. Today, the company now called Auctionata | Paddle8 has named Thomas Hesse as its new CEO.

The German-American Hesse will take over from Auctionata founder and previous CEO Alexander Zacke, who has held the position since Auctionata’s inception in 2012, and will now serve as Chief Marketplace Officer.

The 49-year-old comes to the start-up with more than 20 years’ experience in the media industry. He was member of the executive board of German media giant Bertelsmann until 2013, and previously CEO of Sony Music Entertainment, where he oversaw the company’s merger with the Bertelsmann Media Group.

“The recently merged company has built a strong platform with a compelling business model within a short period of time, and its potential is enormous,” Hesse said in a statement translated by artnet News. “Auctionata | Paddle8 is at the beginning of a new chapter of strong, sustainable growth, which I am pleased to be able to significantly contribute to,” he added.

In addition to the new CEO, the company has also announced the appointment of Lucas Hülsmann as its new chief financial officer, starting October 1. Hülsmann comes to the start-up from Procter & Gamble in Geneva.

Both Paddle8 and Auctionata have independently pursued the middle market with auctions of items valued up to $500,000—Auctionata in Europe, with live streamed sales of vintage luxury items, and Paddle8 in the US, with curated auctions and benefit sales of contemporary art.

In 2015, the two companies reported combined sales totaling over $150 million. Both companies have raised funding from high-profile investors, such as LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault at Auctionata, which has raised $88 million in equity capital to date. Paddle8, meanwhile, has raised $44 million with investors including artist Damien Hirst, and dealers David Zwirner and Jay Jopling, among others.

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