Alex Rotter, Former Sotheby’s Dealmaker, Joining Christie’s

  • He’ll become Americas chairman of postwar and contemporary art
  • Resigned from rival auction house in February after 16 years

Alex Rotter, who was one of the top dealmakers at Sotheby’s before leaving in February, is joining rival Christie’s.

Rotter will start in early 2017 as chairman of the postwar and contemporary department at Christie’s Americas, the firm said Thursday in a statement.

“We have long admired Alex’s art expertise and his innate understanding of both clients’ needs and the art market in which we operate,” Brett Gorvy, the company’s chairman and international head of postwar and contemporary art, said in the statement. “Alex’s appointment will further strengthen our team and we look forward to having him as a colleague for many successful seasons ahead.”

Rotter, who spent 16 years at Sotheby’s, resigned as its global co-head of contemporary art. He is among several top managers and specialists who have left the auction house as Chief Executive Officer Tad Smith attempts to make the company more profitable and competitive. 

Sotheby’s reduced staff through buyouts late in 2015. In January, it acquired private firm Art Agency Partners for as much as $85 million to boost sales. The specialist company’s co-founders, Amy Cappellazzo and Allan Schwartzman, joined Sotheby’s senior management as co-chairmen of a new fine art division that comprises departments including Impressionist, modern and contemporary art. Cappellazzo previously spent 13 years in high-ranking jobs at Christie’s, which is the world’s biggest auction house by revenue.

Another former Sotheby’s executive, Cheyenne Westphal, who along with Rotter 
was co-head of contemporary art, is joining smaller auction house Phillips as its chairman.

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