Phillips CEO Stephen Brooks Has Resigned After Nearly Three Years at the Auction House

Under Brooks, Phillips achieved record-breaking sales and expanded globally, before the market downturn.

Stephen Brooks. Photo courtesy of Phillips.

Phillips CEO Stephen Brooks has stepped down after nearly three years at the helm of the auction house.

The news, first reported by Artnews, was confirmed by Phillips. During Brooks’s tenure the house achieved record-breaking sales and expanded its reach across the globe even amid market challenges. He resigned in December.

Edward Dolman, Phillips’s executive chairman, said that Brooks departed for personal reasons, in a statement to Artnet News.

“Stephen has led the company through a remarkable period of growth during his tenure and his contributions have helped to build the infrastructure for Phillips’ continued success,” Dolman said. “I thank him for his many contributions to the company and wish him all the best.” Dolman, who served as Phillips’s CEO from 2014 to 2021, will oversee the company’s management in the interim.

Brooks, formerly Christie’s chief financial officer, was tapped to succeed Dolman in April 2021 when Dolman was promoted to executive chairman.

Brooks officially began his role at Phillips in September 2021 as the art market and the world were beginning to rebound from pandemic. Phillips emerged triumphant in 2021, selling $1.2 billion worth of luxury goods worldwide, up 32 percent from 2019 and hitting the billion-dollar mark for the first time. Total sales increased further to a record $1.3 billion in 2022.

Phillips’s ambitious worldwide expansion also kept pace. In January 2022, the house launched a new fiduciary services division to serve the specific needs of affluent art buyers.

Brooks also successfully protected the Russian-owned auction house from boycott amid the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in March 2022, with a strong statement condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and offering to donate the full net proceeds of its buyers’ and sellers’ premium of its March London modern and contemporary art sale to the Ukrainian Red Cross Society. In the end the sale pulled in a solid $40 million total, raising $7.7 million for the Red Cross.

Phillips also expanded its Asia footprint under Brooks. The house was the first, ahead of rivals Christie’s and Sotheby’s, to inaugurate new Asia headquarters in Hong Kong in March last year. It also announced an expansion of its Asia leadership in December.

The house also announced the opening of a new office in Milan in September,

Phillips annual total results were affected in 2023 amid a market slowdown, however, sharing the same fate with other auction houses. It saw a 15 percent year-on-year decline to $840.7 million from its 2022 total.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics