While Noah Horowitz has been at the helm of Art Basel for less than a year, his tenure as CEO has already resulted in major changes for the art fair. After appointing new directors for each of Art Basel’s annual editions in Basel, Miami, Hong Kong and Paris, the fair is concluding its leadership shifts with two new hires.
Hayley Romer, former publisher and chief revenue officer at The Atlantic, will join Art Basel this month in the newly created role of chief growth officer. Meanwhile, Craig Hepburn, head of digital at the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), will start in October as the fair’s new chief digital officer. “Together, there is so much more we can do to continuously elevate and innovate our offerings and to reimagine the role that Art Basel plays in the world of art,” said Horowitz in a statement, adding that Art Basel’s next chapter will include unlocking “new opportunities for galleries, artists, collectors, partners and the broader arts ecosystem.”
Romer, who will be based in New York, helped transform The Atlantic into a multi-platform publication during her tenure and has regularly spoken on societal issues like climate change and racial equity at events like Davos, The Aspen Ideas Festival and SXSW. Working closely with Horowitz, she will oversee a growth strategy that engages Art Basel’s expanding audiences, enhances the offerings of its annual fairs and creates new opportunities beyond the arts sphere. “This includes engaging with newly emerging collecting communities around the world and connecting these communities with our galleries, which will be a key pillar of our future growth strategy,” said Romer in a statement.
Meanwhile, Hepburn, who led the UEFA’s introduction of its first streaming OTT platform, will work with the Art Basel CEO to implement a digital strategy while based in Basel. The creation of new formats and experiences complementing Art Basel’s physical fairs will be the primary responsibility of the new digital head, who in a statement noted the “inspiring and limitless” possibilities of technological advances fueled by Generative AI and Web3.
How else has Art Basel changed?
The 53-year-old arts venture has recently undergone significant transformation. In addition to its expanded influence in Asia, which has included collaborations with Art Week Tokyo and acting as a consultant for Singapore’s S.E.A. focus, Art Basel in 2022 added a new fair to its roster with the launch of Paris+ par Art Basel. Led by director Clément Delépine, the fair’s upcoming second edition in October is set to include expanded programming in the Centre Pompidou, parvis de L’Institut de France and the Palais d’iena.
The international arts fair has also seen major changes at the top with last year’s appointment of Vincenzo de Bellis, former curator and associate director of programs at the Walker Arts Center, as director of fair and exhibition platforms. And in October of 2022, Horowitz, the former director of Americas for Art Basel, rejoined the organization as CEO after a brief stint at Sotheby's, succeeding its long-time director Marc Spiegler.
Unlike rival international art fairs like Frieze, which recently purchased New York’s Armory Show and is expected to acquire EXPO Chicago, Art Basel under Horowitz’s leadership is emphasizing strengthening its pre-existing fairs instead of introducing new outposts. Alongside Delépine’s position as head of Paris+ par Art Basel, new dedicated directors have been appointed to each of Art Basel’s global editions, which were previously overseen by the organization’s regional and global directors.
In November of 2022, Angelle Siyang-Le, Art Basel’s former regional head of gallery relations in Asia, became director of Art Basel Hong Kong. Shortly afterwards, Maike Cruse, the previous director of Gallery Weekend Berlin, was appointed head of the organization’s Basel edition. And in July, Art Basel Miami Beach got a new director by bringing aboard art dealer Bridget Finn, who noted her desire to “propel the show to new heights of artistic excellence and profound impact.”