Yuki Terase, Who Built Sotheby’s Hong Kong Auctions Into Major Moneymakers, Departs After 10 Years Amid Staff Shakeup

The region has become a major growth area for the auction house.

Photo courtesy Sotheby's.

Sotheby’s is undergoing a major regime change in one of its fastest-growing hubs.

Yuki Terase, the current head of contemporary art in Asia and a major force in building the house’s client base in the region, is leaving the company. To replace her, Sotheby’s is bringing in executives from its New York and London contemporary teams. Alex Branczik, the head of contemporary art in Europe, will take on the newly created role of chairman, modern and contemporary art, Asia; Max Moore will become head of contemporary art sales, Asia.

Moore (who recently spearheaded the sale of a series of Pak NFTs) and Branczik will relocate to Hong Kong from New York and London, respectively.

L to R: Max Moore, Yuki Terase. Image courtesy Sotheby's

L to R: Max Moore, Yuki Terase. Image courtesy Sotheby’s

Terase’s exit marks the second major departure from Sotheby’s Asia team in as many months. Kevin Ching, the executive chairman of Sotheby’s Asia, announced his retirement in April. To fill the void, Sotheby’s promoted Nathan Drahi, the 26-year-old son of Sotheby’s owner Patrick Drahi. (It is notable Sotheby’s has now replaced two Asian executives with Western dealmakers who are comparatively new to the region.)

During her decade at the auction house, Terase helped grow Hong Kong’s live contemporary art auctions into nine-figure affairs, including a recent HK$1.1 billion ($141.7 million) spring sale. Her clients include top collector Yusaku Maezawa, the buyer of the record-setting $110.5 million Jean-Michel Basquiat, the South Korean pop star Choi Seung Hyun (known as T.O.P.), and the Japanese designer NIGO, whose KAWS painting of the Simpsons sold for $14 million in 2019.

Alex Branczik. Image courtesy Sotheby's

Alex Branczik. Image courtesy Sotheby’s

Terase’s final project for Sotheby’s is a collaboration with pop star Jay Chou that will culminate in a series of sales in Hong Kong in June. Her departure follows news that Amy Cappellazzo, one of the house’s top dealmakers in New York, would depart in July.

Sotheby’s did not elaborate on Terase’s plans except to say that she plans to “pursue independent interests.”

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