Sotheby’s has appointed Jean Qian as its new managing director of China. In her new role, Qian will oversee strategic initiatives in the region and will be responsible for growing Sotheby’s local client base there. She will be based in Shanghai.
Qian was previously vice president for the China Asia-Pacific region at the fashion e-commerce company Farfetch. Prior to that, she served in various management consulting roles across the luxury and financial sectors.
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Alongside its competitors Christie’s and Phillips, Sotheby’s reported a strong year of sales in 2021, helped by an expansion of digital and live-streamed auctions, as well as a growing base of buyers across Asia that continue to drive bullish results.
Top-tier auction houses have begun placing a greater emphasis on China, which Sotheby’s managing director, Nathan Drahi, called “a major strategic focus” for the house in a statement. In December, Phillips announced plans to establish a new headquarters in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District, which is host to the newly inaugurated M+ museum.
The news of Qian’s appointment follows a number of staff changes across the house’s regional offices in Asia. In April, Drahi, the son of Sotheby’s owner and French-Israeli telecom mogul Patrick Drahi, was promoted to run operations of the company’s Asia headquarters after less than a year in his role as a commercial officer in Sotheby’s Hong Kong office. His appointment coincided with the retirement of Sotheby’s longtime Asia executive chairman, Kevin Ching Sau-hong.
In May, another stalwart of Sotheby’s Asia team, Yuki Terase, departed the house after a decade as the head of its contemporary art division in Hong Kong, joining ex-Sotheby’s rainmaker Amy Cappellazzo to found an art advisory firm.