Managing Director, West Coast Division
Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. After starting as a specialist in Christie’s Motor Car department, he joined RM Sotheby’s in 2000 and played a key role in the continued development of the company’s auction catalogues, marketing, and corporate image.
Over the years, Ian has been instrumental in the success of the company’s Private and Estate Collection division, managing the auctions of such distinguished collectors as Richard and Linda Kughn, Gene Ponder, John McMullen, Art Astor, Joe MacPherson, Nick Alexander, John Staluppi, and others. In 2013, Ian oversaw RM Sotheby’s pioneering Art of the Automobile auction, held in association with Sotheby’s in New York City. Celebrating the automobile as a singular achievement at the crossroads of art, technology, and design, the ground-breaking sale set numerous records and a new benchmark for presentation at collector car auctions. In 2015, Ian returned to New York City to coordinate the “Driven by Disruption” auction, which once again proved to be a watershed event and further elevated the automotive auction presentation to new, seldom seen results.
Ian is currently the managing director of RM’s West Coast division and operates out of the company’s Los Angeles, California, office. As Managing Director of the RM Sotheby’s Culver City office, Ian is responsible for managing the team of car specialists and in continuing to grow the RM and Sotheby’s relationship in one of the most strategic and important geographic locales. The son of an automotive engineer with years of experience in the industry and hobby, Ian has a strong knowledge of everything from Brass Era automobiles to sports racing cars and has brought some of the rarest and most desirable motor cars to auction.
One of Ian’s most memorable RM moments was handling the record-breaking “The Originators” Auction of the Brucker Collection of Kustom Kulture Memorabilia and Motor Cars. He has attended numerous tours, including the Pebble Beach Motoring Classic, the California Mille, and The Mozart Tour, to name a few. He was also the charity auctioneer for the 2016 Luftgekühlt event, which resulted in over $175,000 in charitable donations with just three items.