With its array of artist-designed scarves, jigsaw puzzles and homewares (a £1,500 Max Bill cashmere blanket, for instance), you could be forgiven for thinking that Hauser & Wirth gallery is as much in the luxury retail industry as the art business.
Now, the ever expanding gallery and hospitality empire is employing Ewan Venters, currently the chief executive of the London department store Fortnum & Mason—purveyor of excellent teas, preserves and shortbreads—as its first global chief executive.
Venters, who has been at Fortnum &Mason since 2012, will start the role in January 2021, based in London. Working alongside and reporting to the gallery’s co-presidents Iwan and Manuela Wirth and Marc Payot, he will lead the executive board.
“Ewan's appointment enables Manuela, Marc and I to focus on our artists and our relationships with our clients,” says Iwan Wirth, the president of Hauser & Wirth. “Ewan comes from outside the art world but also from a family owned business, not a corporate background, which is important to us.”
Wirth continues that, as Hauser & Wirth now has 11 gallery locations in four countries, Venters’s appointment “will enable us to continue to innovate and stay at the forefront of creativity in business and is especially important in the digital sphere where he has significant expertise. The valuable fresh perspective Ewan brings is all the more important at a time when the art world is rapidly changing, and it will help us reach new audiences for our artists' work.”
Earlier this year, Hauser & Wirth and Fortnum & Mason launched an edition of silk scarves designed by the Chinese artist Zhang Enli. Iwan Wirth adds: “Having known Ewan for two years, we trust his business acumen will be a powerful combination with our three decades of experience of the art world.”