Back in September, I noticed something happening in the auction world. Over the course of a few weeks, names started to disappear from the RM Sotheby’s staff section of the auction company’s website website.
Every week or so, another name was gone. I made some calls but all I got was speculation that those no longer with the company were leaving the industry, or going to work elsewhere, or — more likely — were going to join together and launch their own collector car auction house.
Earlier this week, that last big of speculation proved correct with the announcement of the Broad Arrow Group, a new collector car auction, sales and finance enterprise to be headed by former RM Sotheby’s executives including chief executive Ken Ahn, chief operating officer Alain Squindo and chief marketing officer Ian Kelleher, among others.
Since that announcement, I’ve talked with Alain and Ian about what happened and about Broad Arrow’s plans.
According to Alain one of the catalysts for his move to resign from RM Sotheby’s was when his best friend and RM Sotheby’s CMO Ian Kelleher left the company. Another catalyst revolved around the departure of his mentor and RM Sotheby’s President and CEO, Kenneth Ahn also leaving. He felt that working there would not be the same and decided to leave and figure out what he wanted to do next. He spent time with his family just before the birth of their new baby and did some heavy thinking about the future.
Ian said that in many ways, with Ken leaving the company and he himself having worked for RM Sotheby’s 21 years, it felt like the right time to move on to something else, despite not knowing what the future might hold. For both Alain and I, we truly enjoyed working with Ken Ahn during his time at RM and thought perhaps there would be an opportunity to work together in the future.
Throughout the ensuing months, other RM Staff did in fact leave, with some later joining the Broad Arrow team while others sought out new career paths, some of whom stayed within the industry.
And thus the launch of the Broad Arrow Group, which promises to announce more news as early as next week.
From my perspective, I believe Broad Arrow Group is going to be a veritable juggernaut in the high-end collector car arena. This new company comprises what I would define as the very best in the entire auction space. The level of expertise and experience appears greater than any other company at the high-end of the business, forward-thinking people who not only know how the difficult auction business works, but who are able to identify how it needs to be improved.
The high-end boutique collector car auction space has been pretty stagnant as far as new ideas are concerned. and if there was ever a group positioned to change and improve the space, this is the team to do so.