Michael I. Sovern to Remain on Board After 13 Years of Invaluable Service as Chairman Steven B. Dodge Unanimously Appointed Lead Independent Director of Sotheby's NEW YORK, Dec. 13, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sotheby's (NYSE:BID) today announced that the Board of Directors unanimously elected William F. Ruprecht Chairman of the Board of Directors, a role he will assume in addition to his current duties as President and Chief Executive Officer. Michael I. Sovern, who has served as Chairman of the Board for 13 years, will remain on the Board. Steven B. Dodge was unanimously approved by the Board as Lead Independent Director. The appointments are effective immediately. "Serving as Chairman of the Board at Sotheby's has been an extraordinary privilege," said Mr. Sovern. "We have accomplished a great deal together and I am very proud of the standard of excellence Sotheby's represents today in the art world and, most importantly, with our clients. We are extremely fortunate that Bill Ruprecht can step seamlessly into the role as Chairman. The Board and I have been contemplating my decision to step down as Chairman for about a year now and we looked both internally and externally at suitable structures and candidates. Bill is clearly the best long-term choice for Sotheby's and its shareholders. There is no one more prepared and knowledgeable about Sotheby's and all that this company represents and what it can become, so I turn this seat over to him with great confidence in the future." Mr. Sovern began his tenure as Chairman of Sotheby's in February 2000. As President Emeritus of Columbia University, he brought a distinguished reputation as an accomplished lawyer, scholar and educational leader to the Sotheby's Board at a critical period. Mr. Sovern's leadership and integrity helped steer Sotheby's successfully through its antitrust matter and its two class capital structure and enabled the Company to enjoy the most prosperous period in its almost 270 year history.