Charles F. Stewart. Courtesy Sotheby’s.

Charles F. Stewart Named CEO of Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s has appointed Charles F. Stewart as its new chief executive officer, effective immediately. He succeeds Tad Smith, who had served as CEO of the auction house since 2015. While the announcement comes two weeks before New York’s fall auction season kicks off, it is not unexpected. Stewart is the chief financial officer of Altice USA, a cable television provider owned by the French Israeli telecommunications tycoon Patrick Drahi, who officially closed his $3.7 billion deal to take Sotheby’s private earlier this month.

“Charlie is a talented executive who brings years of international experience to Sotheby’s,” Drahi said in a statement. “I have known him for many years and have been impressed by his appetite for innovation, taking smart risks, and challenging the status quo. He has a proven record of driving growth and is ideally positioned to create value for Sotheby’s clients and our outstanding team.” Drahi also thanked Smith, who will take on the role of senior advisor to Stewart, for his leadership over the last four years. According to the New York Times, Smith will also receive a severance package valued at more than $28 million.

Prior to joining Altice USA, Stewart was the CEO of Itau BBA International plc, Latin America’s largest corporate investment bank, and worked as an investment banker for Morgan Stanley for more than nineteen years in various leadership and client-facing roles based in New York, Brazil, and London. Commenting on his new position, Stewart said: “I am thrilled to be joining such a successful and storied organization. Sotheby’s is renowned throughout the world for deep expertise, trusted relationships, and a long history of innovation. I look forward to adding my expertise to the talented global team and building on the success that has been established over nearly three centuries.”