Amid Executive Reshuffle, Phillips President Michael McGinnis to Step Down

Phillips is undergoing an executive reshuffle at the top.

Michael McGinnis steps down after 16 years at Phillips. Photo: Phillips via Bloomberg

After a 16-year tenure at the auction house, Phillips president Michael McGinnis announced that he is resigning from his position and leaving the company.

In an email to staff, the veteran art executive said that he will step down on November 30 to spend more time with his family and follow other opportunities.

“So far my entire twenty-two year career has been in the auction business, and it’s time to experience the art industry from a different perspective,” he wrote. “My time at Phillips has been nothing short of phenomenal. But the time has come to broaden my horizons and pursue new challenges.”

News of the resignation comes amid executive restructuring at the auction house. Photo: Wallpaper

News of the resignation comes amid executive restructuring at the auction house.
Photo: Wallpaper

McGinnis joined Phillips from rival auction house Sotheby’s in 1999 to head the auctioneer’s newly-founded contemporary art department. He played a crucial role in rebranding the boutique auction house into a major player in the lucrative contemporary art auction market, earning him a promotion to chief executive officer in 2012. In 2014 he assumed the role of president after current CEO Edward Dolman’s arrival.

“I am extremely grateful for the many years of work that Michael has contributed to the company,” Dolman said in a statement cited by Bloomberg. “Michael built an incredible foundation that we can all build on. He was instrumental in helping me transition into this role—always offering the highest level of counsel and dedication to Phillips.”

Former phillips chairman Simon de Pury praised McGinnis for his art world expertise. Photo: Alastair Levy via The Telegraph

Former Phillips chairman Simon de Pury praised McGinnis for his art world expertise.
Photo: Alastair Levy via The Telegraph

Former Phillips chairman and auctioneer Simon de Pury praised him as “a man of great expertise and integrity.” Telling Bloomberg, “He knows the art market inside out and is as knowledgeable about postwar art as he is about cutting-edge art.”

45-year-old McGinnis’s resignation comes amid an executive reshuffle at the top of Phillips. Recent departures include Olivier Vrankenne, co-head of contemporary art in Europe, and Patricia G. Hambrecht, chief business development officer.

In turn, Dolman has recruited some of his old colleagues at Christie’s, where he was CEO for over a decade including Robert Manley, deputy chairman of postwar and contemporary art, and Vivian Pfeiffer, director of private sales in North America and Latin America.


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