Sotheby’s CFO Patrick McClymont Resigns and Receives $3.75 Million Cash Severance
Did activist shareholders force him out?
Just days after Sotheby’s announced it will take a hefty fourth-quarter charge to facilitate dozens of employee buyouts, the auction house’s chief financial offer Patrick McClymont has resigned.
Sotheby’s announced the news following the close of the trading yesterday, noting that McClymont, who has served two years in the position, will step down on December 31 “to pursue other opportunities.” He will remain with the company until January 31.
In the interim, Sotheby’s has named Dennis M. Weibling as CFO. Weibling has been a member of Sotheby’s board of directors since 2006 and is the current chair of the board’s audit committee. He will assume the role of CFO effective January 1.
McClymont, who joined Sotheby’s in 2013 from Goldman Sachs, will receive a $3.75 million cash severance as well as 26,261 performance shares and 14,517 restricted shares. “In addition, Mr. McClymont will be entitled to the cash portion of his 2015 incentive bonus,” according to an SEC filing. Sotheby’s spokesperson Lauren Gioia said McClymont’s departure “is not related to the voluntary separation programs concluded earlier this month.”
In a research report sent to investors this morning, David Schick, managing director at brokerage and investment banking firm Stifel, writes: “Yes, we were surprised by the resignation.”
Schick continues, “We saw Mr. McClymont as an important part of the transition to modernize the business practices [of the company]. Also, the CFO slot being in transition will limit the chance for more meaningful strategic updates around real estate, the loan portfolio, or any sale to a trophy buyers.”
In an interview with Bloomberg, Barrington Research senior analyst Kristine Koerber said the departure of McClymont “appears to be another move by the activists. They have been pushing for a turnover of the senior management team over the past 12 to 18 months.”
Sotheby’s, says Schick, has become more of a “trust us” story.
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