As President and Chief Executive Officer of Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc., Kathy Korte ensures that the name Sotheby’s stays synonymous with quality
By Stephanie Wilson
Photography by Stephen Ladner
Real estate is about your local expertise as an agent as well as the company you work for, and the values and ethics that company upholds,” explains Kathy Korte. Expertise as an agent she has down. Korte, who began her real estate career with Sotheby’s International Realty in 1984, was recently appointed as the company’s president and CEO. Her offices are headquartered in Manhattan, where the brand has established dominance in what is widely considered the world’s most competitive real estate market. With the world-renowned name of Sotheby’s guiding her way through an industry known for sensitive values and ethics, Korte now leads a network of thousands of agents in close to 60 offices worldwide.
“Our brand is venerable and our legacy is service – premium service and expertise in the valuation of property, and in the marketing skills that secure the best price for any kind of treasured asset, whether it’s a work of art or a real estate offering.”
Sotheby’s International Realty opened its doors in 1976, launched by the auction house to support the real estate needs of clients who had long relied on Sotheby’s for access and discretion in the rarified domain of one-of-a-kind objects. Since its founding in 1744, Sotheby’s has been the auction house of choice for the world’s most unique and coveted items, from fine and rare jewels to exquisite wines and priceless works of art. Sotheby’s International Realty was a natural evolution in the Sotheby’s brand, offering a powerful marketing and referral program and connecting auction house clients with real estate expertise and a global portfolio of fine properties.
Now owned by parent company Realogy, Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. operates 56 wholly owned brokerage offices in the United States and a flagship office in London. These offices are an integral part of the Sotheby’s International Realty® network, comprised of affiliates throughout the United States and select locations around the world, including Anguilla, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, France, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, St. Barthelemy, St. Maarten, Switzerland, Thailand, and Turks and Caicos Islands. Having joined Sotheby’s International Realty near the beginning, Korte played an essential role in the company’s dramatic growth and reputation for record-breaking sales.
“When I started with the Manhattan brokerage in 1984 we had probably fifteen brokers. Now the Manhattan group alone has about one hundred and sixty agents. It’s been an incredible ride,” Korte says. Her career took her through virtually every department, from assistant to the manager, to assistant brokerage manager, to corporate operations and planning. “Now I’ve been here almost longer than anyone!” she laughs.
Her love for the brand has grown exponentially as well. “The Sotheby’s brand precedes everything we do. It opens doors and sets the stage from day one – we provide world-class service to our clients, we exceed expectations on every level,” she explains. “We can always hold our heads high and be proud of the brand behind us.”
In a like manner, Korte tries to surround herself with others who are driven to excel, helping her and the company reach the next level. “My advice is to always hire people that are better than you,” she says. “Do whatever you can to find people you want to work with, that you laugh with, that you share a sense of humor with because that’s how you really make the best effort. You can become visionaries together and create something altogether new.”