Sotheby’s Appoints Charles F. Stewart from Altice as New Chief Executive Officer

This September, Sotheby’s approved the proposed US$3.7bn acquisition by BidFair USA, an entity wholly owned by French billionaire Patrick Drahi. The new owner of Sotheby’s named Charles F. Stewart from Altice as Sotheby’s new Chief Executive Officer, replacing Tad Smith who has served in the position since 2015.

Charles F. Stewart is replacing Tad Smith as Sotheby’s CEO

Patrick Drahi, Sotheby’s new owner

Patrick Drahi, a French-Israeli businessman, founded the telecom company Altice in 2001 in Europe, and over the course of nearly 20 years, he has turned Altice into a multinational broadband, telecommunications, media, digital and advertising company.

Stewart has served as Altice USA’s Co-President and Chief Financial Officer since 2016. During his tenure at Altice USA, he drove numerous operational and financial activities that integrated and transformed the Company, refocusing it for innovation and growth. Notably, in 2017, he helped lead the Company’s successful $2.1 billion initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, the largest telecom IPO in 15 years. Additionally, Mr. Stewart spearheaded the launch of a4, the acquisition of Cheddar, and the integration of i24NEWS etc.

Prior to that, he spent 19 years in investment banking at Morgan Stanley in various client and leadership roles before he served as CEO of Itau BBA International plc, the international holding company for Itau-Unibanco, the largest bank in Latin America.

Tad Smith will become a senior advisor to Mr. Stewart

Tad Smith, who served as CEO of Sotheby’s since 2015, will become a shareholder of the company and act as a senior advisor to Mr. Stewart. It is reported that Smith leaves with a US$28.2m the severance package, including US$16.9m in shares.

The move didn’t come as a surprise to most people as Drahi had replaced CFO Mike Goss and executive vice president John Cahill with the CEO of his family office. Yet, this announcement came two week before the fall autumn season. Maybe we will have to wait till next year to see what changes the new leadership will bring.  

What changes will the new leadership will bring?