A senior staff reshuffle is underway at Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
First, Christie’s, where Dirk Boll, the president of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) since 2017, will be replaced by Anthea Peers, formerly global managing director for Christie’s private sales, as of 4 April.
Boll, meanwhile, will take up the newly created role of Christie’s EMEA deputy chairman of 20th and 21st century art, working with the 20/21 chairman Alex Rotter and vice chairman Giovanna Bertazzoni.
Boll tells The Art Newspaper that he sees this move as a “homecoming”—he started at Christie’s as an intern in 1997 in the then “contemporary art department”. Having been managing director of Christie's continental Europe from 2011 to 2017, Boll is ready to move on from business administration: “When you get promoted, you become more and more distanced from the actual art, and I felt that I wanted to make what appears to be a bold move, back into the world of content,” Boll says. “I’ve done my duty on spreadsheets.”
With the 20/21 department being core to Christie’s business, he says he wants “to be in the engine room, to smell the oil—I want to be closer to where it happens, so I’m going to have an office between the specialists.” Boll “has a lot to learn” in his new role, and says of Peers: “She’s a great colleague and we have worked hand in glove for a number of years. I’ve offered to be her mentor and soundboard for as long as she needs.”
The reshuffle, Boll says, is unconnected to Michael Jeha’s recent departure as chairman of Christie’s Middle East after 23 years: “There will be a new Middle East chairman. Mike is returning to London for personal reasons, it’s all very amicable.”
Across the Pond, Richard Aronowitz (previously of head of Sotheby’s restitution department in Europe from 2006 to 2021) joins Christie’s as global head of restitution, reporting to Marc Porter, chairman of Christie’s Americas.
Meanwhile, Sotheby’s is expanding its operations in the Middle East, appointing Daniel Asmar to the newly created role of managing director for MENA (Middle East and North Africa). Asmar joins from outside the art industry—most recently he was director, cluster head of Saudi Arabia for Credit Suisse AG, based in Dubai. He will continue to be based in Dubai with Sotheby’s once he starts the role on 4 April, working alongside Katia Nounou Boueiz, the senior director and head of Sotheby’s UAE, and Mai Eldib who joined Sotheby’s in 2008 and is now based in Dubai and has recently been made head of sales, Middle East.
Sebastian Fahey, the managing director of Sotheby’s EMEA, says Asmar’s appointment “cements our long-term commitment” to the region. “We have made major strides since the official opening of our [Dubai] office five years ago, growing alongside the cultural landscape of the region, and we look forward to scaling this up even further.”
Asmar says: “There is so much opportunity to continue to tap into across the region, particularly in the realms of luxury and e-commerce” adding that he will bring what he has learnt in financial services to “the context of Sotheby’s multi-faceted art business.”