Paddle8, the leading cultural e-commerce and benefit auction platform, has announced the appointment of Valentine Uhovski as new CEO, with immediate effect. Uhovski joined the brand this summer as Head of Partnerships, Marketing and Social Media from Tumblr where he served as Head of Fashion, Culture and Events for seven years. Uhovski’s appointment as CEO comes on the heels of a 2 year business turnaround under CEO Izabela Depczyk, who will transition into an advisory role helping to spearhead partnerships and expansion of Paddle8 business in selected key markets in Europe and Asia.
“I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved at Paddle8 in the two years I’ve served as CEO,” states Depczyk. “Valentine is best primed to lead the business in its next chapter of growth and development; he has the vision and know-how to take the company to the next level.”
“Paddle8 is a phenomenal brand with incredible growth potential,” states Uhovski. “I’m thrilled to be at the helm at such an exciting time and am thankful to Izabela and the board for their belief in my vision for the future. There is so much more to accomplish with our immense community of partners, artists, and collectors.”
Uhovski will oversee Paddle8 brand’s continued growth through strategic long term partnerships with major foundations, media organizations and corporate brands, with the company maintaining strict cost discipline and focus on profitability as lead by Depczyk. Under Uhovski, Paddle8 will continue to lead in the cultural e-commerce space partnering with brands and notable personalities to bring artwork and rare collectibles to market. He will also oversee an expanded partnership program with artists directly and will pursue a robust calendar of benefit auctions, collaborations, and IRL programming & events. Highlight sales and partnerships for end of 2019-2020 include benefit partnerships with Jay-Z’s Shawn Carter Foundation, Paddle8 x HighSnobiety auction featuring nearly 100 lots, a partnership on Robb Report’s ultimate gift guide and a Storefront with David Salle and As If magazine.
Depczyk took the helm of Paddle8 in early 2018 following recapitalization of Paddle8 by a group of international investors including Swiss-listed technology company The Native SA. Depczyk introduced strict corporate and financial discipline in what had been a chronically loss-making company for the previous seven years. The revitalized Paddle8 leadership team put in place under Ms. Depczyk implemented a total transformation of the business, which included the opening of new Manhattan headquarters, a relaunch of Paddle8’s website with vastly improved functionality and user experience, expanded sales categories with an emphasis on brand collaborations and celebrity-driven partnerships and the launch of a buy-now sales vertical, the Paddle8 Storefronts. In August 2019 Paddle8 achieved over 90% sell-through rate for all of its newly introduced non-art categories auctions and generated more than 40% of its revenues from the new collecting categories and new e-commerce storefront format.
Depczyk will remain as an advisor to Paddle8 while pursuing other business activities including managing a strategic investment in the Swiss-listed MCH Group AG best known for its ownership of Art Basel and Baselworld trade shows and made by Ms Depczyk’s family office in October 2019.