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Friday, November 22, 2013

Sotheby's top auctioneer leaving amid investor pressure, (NYSE: BID)

Tobias Meyer, Sotheby's chief auctioneer, is leaving the auction house, the company said on Friday, just a week after Sotheby's recorded the highest sale in its history. The departure of Meyer, the worldwide head of contemporary art, comes as Sotheby's is being pressured by activist investors including Daniel Loeb to improve its business strategies and earn more money for shareholders.In a statement, Sotheby's Chief Executive Officer Bill Ruprecht said that with Meyer's contract expiring soon, "we all agreed it was time to part ways.""Tobias Meyer is a respected figure and has been at the center of signature moments in Sotheby's history for more than 20 years and we are grateful for all of his contributions," Ruprecht said.The announcement of Meyer's departure comes after he auctioned off Andy Warhol's "Silver Car Crash" for $104.5 million last week. While that helped the auction house have its best sale ever, at $380 million, it still lagged behind arch rival Christie's, which earned $691.5 million the same week with a record-setting Francis Bacon painting.

Sotheby?s is a global auctioneer of authenticated fine art, decorative art, and jewelry. Shares of BID fell by 0.87% or $-0.46/share to $52.21. In the past year, the shares have traded as low as $28.50 and as high as $54.00. On average, 1243570 shares of BID exchange hands on a given day and today's volume is recorded at 767812.