London--Christie’s announced that it has appointed Guillaume Cerutti as CEO, effective Jan. 1.

He succeeds Patricia Barbizet, who has been in the position for two years and now will take on the role of vice chairman of the board and also will stay on as CEO of Artemis, the investment company founded by Christie’s owner François Pinault, who is also the honorary chairman of Kering.

Cerutti currently serves as the president of Christie’s Europe, Middle East, Russia and India operations.

He has worked for more than a decade as a senior executive in the art auction world and within the “cultural industry” for more than 20 years, the auction house said, leaving Sotheby’s to join Christie’s in September 2015.

Meanwhile, Pinault will assume the role of chairman of the board.

Christie’s global executive leadership team remains in place, with Stephen Brooks continuing in his role as deputy chief executive officer, overseeing all operational aspects of the business.

Global President Jussi Pylkkänen will continue to work directly with leading collectors, shaping the curation and sales strategies, to increase the global footprint of the company.

The shake-up at the top comes during a time of struggle for many auction houses, as sales have been under pressure in 2016 and a number of top lots have failed to find buyers who will meet reserve prices due to continued global economic uncertainty.

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