Seeing Room for Market Expansion, Hauser & Wirth Hires the Head of an Ultra-Luxurious London Department Store as Its Global CEO

The Scottish businessman Ewan Venters has been the chief executive of Fortnum & Mason since 2012.

Ewan Venters. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Sim Canetty-Clarke.

Hauser & Wirth has enlisted the head of a luxury department store to oversee its global strategic operations. 

Ewan Venters, the chief executive of the up-scale Fortnum & Mason department store in London, will take up the newly created role of global chief executive officer at the gallery in January 2021.

The 48-year-old executive will oversee operations across Europe, the United States, and Asia, as well as head up the gallery’s executive board. 

Iwan Wirth tells Artnet News that appointing Venters will allow him and gallery co-presidents Manuela Wirth and Marc Payot to focus their time on relationships with the gallery’s artists and clients.

What our artists need now more than ever is an organization that is deeply passionate about their work, has the time and resources to look after them in a global capacity, and connects their work with the world’s best institutions and collectors,” he says, adding that those relationships remain the gallery’s “top priority.”

Wirth says the gallery particularly values Venters’s digital business experience, which will help Hauser & Wirth navigate new territory and redefine the traditional gallery business model.

“The digital realm is fluid and fast-evolving, and its presence in the art world is here to stay,” Wirth says. “Ewan has a wealth of experience in digital innovation. We are confident his invaluable insights and leadership will support our mission to engage new audiences for our artists.”

The Scottish executive has headed up Fortnum & Mason since 2012, and has overseen the opening of a store in Hong Kong and a number of collaborations with contemporary artists, such as Zhang Enli and Chris Levine, and the collector Frank Cohen.

Venters also made made inroads in the department store’s hospitality sector, an industry Manuela and Iwan Wirth are also invested in through their Roth Bar & Grill in New York; the Durslade Farmhouse in Somerset; and the trendy Los Angeles eatery Manuela. In 2018, the couple expanded to open a boutique hotel, the Fife Arms, in Scotland. 

While Hauser & Wirth and the Wirth family’s hospitality projects are distinct enterprises, they do share some important points of connection: they derive from the same ethos, the same interest in community,” Wirth says. “Given Ewan’s past experience, we are excited to benefit from the fresh eye he will bring to the hospitality elements of our wider business.” 

Since its founding in Zürich in 1992, Hauser & Wirth has expanded with gallery outposts in Hong Kong, London, New York, Los Angeles, Somerset, Gstaad, St. Moritz, and Southampton, New York. It represents more than 75 artists and estates.

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