Guillaume Cerutti to Replace Patricia Barbizet as Christie’s CEO

He joined the auction house just a few months ago.

Christie's CEO Guillaume Cerutti and his predecessor, Patricia Barbizet. Courtesy Christie's.

After just a few months as president of Christie’s EMERI (Europe, Middle East, Russia, India), Guillaume Cerutti will succeed Patricia Barbizet as Christie’s chief executive officer.

Hired away from Sotheby’s in August 2015, where he had been deputy chairman for Europe and CEO for France, he takes over as Christie’s CEO on January 1, 2017.

The auctioneer, which had sales in the first half of 2016 totaling $3 billion across its auction, private and digital platforms, appointed Barbizet CEO at the end of 2014. She was the first female CEO in the history of the company, which was founded in 1766. Barbizet replaced Steven Murphy, who was dismissed just weeks after Sotheby’s CEO William Ruprecht was pushed out, later to be replaced by Madison Square Garden president and CEO Tad Smith.

That $3 billion figure represents a one-third decrease from the same period in 2015, which the house blamed on “a drop in supply of works of art above £20 million at auction, with 29 lots selling for more than $6.5 million, compared with 47 lots in first half of 2015.”

“As we conclude a successful year, the time is right to adapt our structure and further enhance the tremendous work we have done to make the company more efficient, creative and collaborative,” said Barbizet, the right-hand woman of François Pinault, head of the holding company Artémis, which owns Christie’s, in a press release.

“It is a great honour to take forward the company’s strategic initiatives and continue the successful work that have been implemented under Patricia’s tutorship,” said Cerutti in the press release. “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.”

The company, with 12 salesrooms around the world and offices in 46 countries, marked its 250th anniversary this year; as artnet News previously reported, the company has seen seven of its top 10 record lots sell in just the last five years.

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