Former Christie’s Financial Chief Stephen Brooks Will Replace Edward Dolman as Phillips’s New C.E.O.
Dolman has been promoted to the newly created position of executive chairman.
Phillips, the longtime number three blue-chip art auction house, has hired former Christie’s executive Stephen Brooks, 56, to serve as its new C.E.O.
Brooks will succeed Edward Dolman, who will take on the newly created position of executive chairman, overseeing the holding company that owns the auction house.
When Brooks takes the helm in September, he will look to expand the London-based house’s international business, particularly in Asia, and to continue to grow top-selling categories in contemporary art, watches, and jewelry.
All this is set against a rough 2020 for Phillips. With the art industry experiencing its worst recession since 2009, the house saw sales fall 16 percent, to $760 million.
“After moments of trauma, history often sees an explosion of cultural and economic activity,” Brooks told the Wall Street Journal, which broke the news of his employment. “We’ve got a huge opportunity for growth here.”
Brooks has experience helping auction houses rebound from financial crises, having joined Christie’s as C.F.O. in 2009, as the Great Recession took hold. He served in a variety of senior management roles, most recently as deputy chief executive, over the next 11 years, before his departure last August.
Dolman also came to Phillips from Christie’s, more than doubling the house’s annual sales from $399 million, when he joined in 2014, to a high of $908 million in 2019.
With Dolman at the helm, the auction house has grown from running 38 sales per year, to 69. Over the past seven years, the company has also roughly doubled its staff, to 445 people, and nearly tripled its number of clients, now at more than 11,000 people.
As Phillips continued to grow its business ventures, it opened a Hong Kong salesroom in 2015, and in 2020, it launched joint sales with Poly Auction, China’s largest state-owned auction house, with a $50 million result at the first sale. (Asia was a bright spot for the company in 2020, with total sales up 24 percent, to $152 million, on the year.)
In other Phillips news, the auction house has also announced a new arm, the Phillips Art Advisory, offering services to clients looking to build their collections.
Kevie Yang, an international specialist at the auction house, will be the head of the new advisory platform, which hopes to focus on the growing Asian market.
“Our strong relationships and networks with private collectors, primary galleries, and public institutions extend beyond the realm of the auction platform,” Yang said in a statement. “We will be the eyes and ears on the ground for our advisory clients.”
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