Ewan Venters. Photo: Sim Canetty-Clarke.

Hauser & Wirth Names Fortnum & Mason Chief First Global CEO

Toast of the gallery scene Hauser & Wirth has been piling on the butter of late with its expansion into the luxury gift and hospitality industry; now it is reaching for the jam—or rather, for the man who knows how to sell it.

Ewan Venters, managing director at posh department store Fortnum & Mason, known for its high-quality teas and preserves (and, its founders contend, for inventing the Scotch egg), will serve as Hauser & Wirth’s first global CEO beginning in January 2021. In his new position, Venters will oversee operations in Europe, the US, and Asia, freeing copresidents Manuela and Iwan Wirth and Marc Payot to focus on the gallery’s relationship with its artists and clients. Venters will additionally oversee Hauser & Wirth’s executive board.

“Ewan’s appointment enables Manuela, Marc, and I to focus on our artists and our relationships with our clients,” said Iwan Wirth. “Ewan comes from outside the art world but also from a family-owned business, not a corporate background, which is important to us.”

Founded in Zurich in 1992, Hauser & Wirth has expanded to 11 locations, including London, Hong Kong, and New York. In recent years the Wirths have ventured into the hospitality business with restaurants (Roth Bar & Grill in New York and Manuela, inside Hauer & Wirth’s Los Angeles outpost) and lodging endeavors (the Durslade Farmhouse in Somerset, UK, and the Fife Arms, in Braemar, Scotland).

Venter, who came to Fortnum & Mason in 2012, helmed the 400-year-old retailer’s expansion into Hong Kong and oversaw a number of collaborations with artists including Chris Levine and Zhang Enli, the latter of whom designed an edition of silk scarves for the department store in partnership with Hauser & Wirth.

Iwan Wirth said he expects Venter “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.”