Outgoing Sotheby’s CEO Bill Ruprecht Gets $4 Million Severance

Sotheby's CEO William Ruprecht Photo: MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images

Following last week’s announcement that Bill Ruprecht will step down (see “Say Goodbye to the Rug Guy, Sotheby’s CEO William Ruprecht Pushed Out”), a leaked document published on ARTnews and available on Scribd states that Sotheby’s embattled CEO will receive a $4 million severance payment “provided for under his existing agreement.”

Sotheby’s longstanding CEO joined the firm in 1980. He was appointed president and CEO of Sotheby’s in 2000 and was elected chairman of the board in 2012. He will keep his post until his yet-to-be-appointed successor takes over.

While the official announcement specifies that the decision was a “mutual agreement,” Ruprecht’s resignation comes after a long proxy battle, spearheaded by investor Dan Loeb (see “Dan Loeb Triumphs, Will Join Sotheby’s Board“). It resulted in Loeb securing three seats on the board, one of which for himself.

Ruprecht’s resignation seems to suggest that drastic changes are afoot for the publicly traded auctioneer. Writing in artnet News, Philip Boroff investigated the possibility of Loeb taking the 270-year-old company private (see “Will Dan Loeb Take Sotheby’s Private?”).

Investors were eagerly awaiting the announcement—and in some cases, they anticipated it. According to artnet News, important hedge funds have invested heavily in Sotheby’s stock in the period leading up to Ruprecht’s departure. The day after, Sotheby’s stock rose by 9 percent.


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