Sotheby’s layoffs 2024 – Why Sotheby’s cut jobs of employees?

Sotheby’s is still known for innovation today. Sotheby’s provides a variety of services, including private sales, a BuyNow marketplace, Sotheby’s Financial Services, and Sotheby’s Advisory. Is Sotheby’s layoffs still continues?

According to The Art Newspaper, Sotheby’s has begun a consultation process in London. It is preparing to make dozens of layoffs. According to four anonymous sources, about 50 employees are set to leave the firm in London. Further layoffs are planned in Sotheby’s New York and European offices. But The Art Newspaper knows that Sotheby’s UK employees will be particularly affected.

Patrick Drahi has been the private owner of Sotheby’s since 2019. In recent years, there have been rumors about possible financial changes at the auction house. This includes a potential plan to take Sotheby’s public again, which first came up in 2021. In this article, we learn more about Sotheby’s layoffs in detail.

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Sotheby’s cuts employees in 2023

In June 2023, Brian Beccafico stated on Twitter that he was “leaving SOTHEBY’S.” While the announcement was odd for an auction business, it makes sense for the NFT specialist, who had been with the auction house for just over a year.

According to Beccafico, Sotheby’s informed him in mid-June about the layoff. The company said that NFT sales would no longer be held in Paris. It made his position obsolete. But he wasn’t the only employee at the auction firm who got the axe. According to two former Sotheby’s employees, at least ten senior personnel have been laid off since April 2023.

Additionally, four staffers from Sotheby’s Metaverse and associated NFT sales, including an NFT specialist, have departed the company within 2022.

Sotheby’s NFT-related employment was reduced by half as a result of these losses. Thus, only three staff members were left working on NFT sales. They are:

  • Michael Bouhanna, vice president, contemporary art specialist, and head of digital art and NFTs
  • Davis Brown, presale coordinator and
  • another employee(unknown)

According to one report, up to ten employees were let go from the Paris office alone. According to sources, the senior workers who were put off include Jamie Durkin, a general manager. He has worked at Sotheby’s for nearly 15 years and at Sotheby’s Metaverse for nearly two. Also, Molly C. Berry, vice president and director of client experience, began at Sotheby’s as an intern in 2004.

Beccafico stated, “With the sale of Three Arrows Capital and the new Gen Art program, the New York office operates at full speed.” “But the only thing I know is that they’ve been cutting headcounts across all departments.”

Sotheby’s Layoffs 2024

According to The Art Newspaper (May 30, 2024), Sotheby’s will lay off about 50 employees in London in the next few weeks. They also stated that staff cutbacks will occur in Europe and New York. Employees at Sotheby’s London learned about the layoffs, which ranged from director-level roles to art handlers, at a staff meeting last week.

The auction company representative denied the belief that their headquarters in London would be up for sale. He says, “London is and will remain to be our largest and most important center for sales, exhibitions, and talent in Europe. It will be our second biggest sales location in the world.” Sotheby’s was unavailable for further response.

Things remain uncertain at the auction house. But the news arrives as they prepare for their June auctions and present their revised buyer’s premiums.

The Art Newspaper reported that the company will undergo a ‘consultation period.’ This is to examine its finances better.

Sotheby’s modern and contemporary art sales in New York earlier this month yielded modest sales totals of $267.3 million and $126.6 million in London in March, respectively.

Last year, Sotheby’s laid off ten senior staff. According to Firms House, a British government group that keeps a register of firms, their income fell by 24% between 2021 and 2022. It fell from £34.5 million ($44 million) to £26.2 million ($33.4 million).

According to reports, Brexit and global sociopolitical issues have had an impact on the art market. A spokesperson for Sotheby’s stated that the data obtained from Companies House was ‘incomplete.’ It is ‘based on a separate company that does not represent the financial view of our overall global enterprise or even our U.K. business in total.’

Conclusion

Sotheby’s held a staff meeting in London last week to inform employees of the layoffs. According to one source, some director-level positions are being reviewed as part of the restructure. According to another report, several art handling positions are being eliminated.

The downsize follows two fairly restricted contemporary and modern art sales weeks in London and New York. According to Companies House, the government agency that maintains the UK’s company registration, Sotheby’s UK business revenues fell 24 percent between 2021 and 2022. 

However, an auction house spokesperson told the Art Newspaper that the agency’s details needed to be more adequate.

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