Tsukahara Remains Antiquorum CEO

John Yo Tsukahara will remain Antiquorum S.A.’s chief executive officer well into 2008. JCK‘s Oct. 31 disclosure was later confirmed by ArtistHouse Holdings, which owns 50 percent of the international auction house. The search for a permanent replacement for founder Osvaldo Patrizzi, who left in August, ended in October. In addition, investment banking veteran David Smith became the new chief financial officer.

Tsukahara was named interim president and CEO Aug. 2 when Patrizzi’s contract was terminated by Antiquorum’s new operators. (Patrizzi has challenged in court the legality of the removal of himself and other Antiquorum executives.) The board sought a permanent replacement, but in late October JCK learned Tsukahara will be CEO at least through spring 2008. “There will be no [other] new CEO in the near future,” spokesperson Karin Tasso told JCK. He’ll stay “for a long interim period, at least April or May,” she said. “Things are running smoothly [with him] as CEO.” A Nov. 7 statement by ArtistHouse confirmed “continuation [of Tsukahara’s] mandate as Antiquorum S.A.’s chief executive into next year.”

Tsukahara, an independent management consultant, joined ArtistHouse Holdings’ board of directors in late 2006. Earlier, he was with the Marubeni Corp., a major Japanese trading company, for 30 years.

With Antiquorum’s top spot filled, its operators focused on restructuring the company. That included the new post of chief financial officer, to which David Smith was appointed in October. He worked four years with high-net-worth clients of HSBC Private Bank, one of the globe’s leading banking and financial organizations. Earlier he was with SGS Group, Switzerland’s second-largest public company, overseeing mergers and acquisitions in North America and SGS’s audit department worldwide.

Meanwhile, a forensic audit of Antiquorum’s “financial management and governance,” ordered by its new operators after Patrizzi’s ouster, was finished by late October. However, the company wouldn’t comment on its findings at press time.

Patrizzi contended the audit was ordered on “a trumped-up accusation” to “justify the takeover.” He said, “We gave quarterly financial information [to ArtistHouse] and had an audit every year, and there weren’t any complaints.” In Antiquorum’s 34 years, “never was one penny ever missing,” he said. Antiquorum’s new operators had no comment about Patrizzi’s allegations, said spokesperson Karin Tasso.