By Lenore Fedow
Bonhams CEO Matthew Girling will step down as head of the auction house. (Image courtesy of Bonhams)
London—Bonhams’ CEO Matthew Girling will step down from his role as head of the auction house, which he has held since 2015.

Executive Chairman Bruno Vinciguerra will take over the position while still serving in his current role, the company announced Monday.

The date of Girling’s departure has not been announced.

Vinciguerra joined the auction house in September 2018 following its acquisition by British private equity firm Epiris Fund II.

He previously served as chief operating officer at Sotheby’s for eight years and also worked at Dell, Walt Disney and Boston-based consulting firm Bain & Co.

Girling joined Bonhams in 1988, later leaving to work for Sotheby’s, but he returned in 1996 as director of the jewelry department.

“I am proud to have led a management team that successfully attracted new investors into the business. Compared to the company I first joined, Bonhams has changed beyond recognition, becoming an international forward-thinking art auction business,” Girling said.

In 2018, The Times dubbed him as one of the top five auctioneers in the world.

During his time as CEO, the auction house, which has salesrooms in New York, London and Los Angeles, expanded into the Hong Kong market.

It was scheduled to hold its Jewels and Jadeite sale in Hong Kong on March 12 but has postponed the event in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, a Bonhams spokesperson confirmed to National Jeweler.

The auction will be rescheduled for a later date.

The outbreak is taking a toll on the jewelry industry as trade shows are tabled and sales in the key Chinese market drop.

Other Hong Kong trade shows to be postponed include: The Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl show, the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show, The AEC Gems & Jewelry Presidents’ Summit, and Alrosa’s auction of special-size rough diamonds, which has relocated to Moscow.

Swatch cancelled its “Time to Move” event, scheduled for late February/early March in Zurich, Switzerland, in order to “prevent their partners from travelling internationally in an insecure climate.”

Global health officials estimate the coronavirus outbreak is responsible for 1,300 deaths as of Thursday with more than 60,000 cases confirmed worldwide.

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