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Sotheby’s profits down 63% as staff exodus takes hold

Sotheby’s is to be hit by a series of staff departures following poor financial results that saw the world famous auction house post disappointing financial results. For 2015 profits crashed by 63%, from $117.8m to $43.7m.

Departures at the firm will include Cheyenne Westphal, Sotheby’s worldwide head of contemporary art, who will leave Sotheby’s this month. Her departure follows 25 years at the auction house and comes just a month after the resignation of her co-head, Alex Rotter, who had been at Sotheby’s for 16 years.

A statement from Sotheby’s said: “Cheyenne has been a valued colleague for 25 years who contributed greatly to Sotheby’s during her tenure, and we wish her well.”

Westphal and Rotter’s departures form the company are just the latest in a series of senior staff exiting the company. Henry Wyndham, the chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, and Melanie Clore, worldwide co-chairman for impressionist and Modern have both left the auction house.

However, the company’s financial woes have not stopped it travelling down the acquisition trail. Sotheby’s bought advisory firm Art Agency Partners for an estimated $50 million in January this year.

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Mark Banham

Mark Banham