Steven Murphy, who took over as chief executive officer of Christie’s in 2010, announced on Tuesday he is stepping down as the head of the auction house at the end of the year. The move comes less than three weeks after rival art auction house Sotheby’s announced its CEO, William Ruprecht, would be leaving.
"We have now successfully concluded an ambitious three-year plan, and the company is in the strongest leadership position in its history,” Murphy said in a statement. “I have loved everything about working with the team here at Christie’s and am extremely proud of what we have collectively achieved.”
Last month, Christie’s posted record sales of $852.9 million in postwar and contemporary artwork in New York, compared with $691 million a year earlier. The company also smashed its previous $745 million record set on May 13. Patricia Barbizet, currently the chairman of Christie’s, will take over as CEO.
“Having completed this core work, the company is positioned for its next phase of development, and I look forward to leading the global team into a new chapter of innovation and excellence as we take Christie’s to the next level,” Barbizet said.
Christie's International, a private company, is one of the world's largest auction houses alongside Sotheby's. Christie's appraises, prepares, and sells items such as art, collectibles, wine, stamps and motor cars. Following the announcement, shares of Sotheby's gained more than 2 percent to $39.27 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.