The Varnish Is Wearing Thin on Christie's Empire; Emergency Measures: Yves Saint Laurent, Left, and Christie's Owner Francois Pinault

Article excerpt

THE auction house Christie's is to announce job cuts today and there are rumours that the scale of losses may be worse than feared. One art world source suggests that cuts of up to 20 per cent of the workforce are to be made worldwide.

A spokesman for Christie's declined to give any details of the numbers involved but did confirm that cuts are to be made, with immediate effect: "Effective January 12, 2009, we have begun to implement a company-wide reorganization, which includes significant staff reductions, not renewing many consultants' contracts and the continuation of other cost reduction initiatives, that will ensure we remain competitive and profitable in 2009. We are implementing these staff reductions globally in accordance with local regulations and in as considered and timely a manner as is possible." Earlier this month I revealed that the owner of Christie's, Francois Pinault, was considering offloading some of his businesses. The French tycoon is the owner of the luxury goods group PPR, which comprises Gucci and Puma, as well as Christie's. …