Phillips Reinstates Former Leader Following CEO’s Departure, Reconfigures Executive Staff

After the abrupt departure of its former CEO Stephen Brooks last month, Phillips has reinstated Ed Dolman, its executive chairman, as the leader of the auction house. Dolman will assume a newly created position that combines both his current role and the CEO position.

The departure has led to Phillips to reorganize some of its executive staff. Amanda Lo Iacono, who for the past two years has overseen the houses’s 20th century and contemporary art departments across New York, London, and Shanghai, has been appointed to the newly created role of deputy chief executive officer. Cheyenne Westphal, who is based in London, will continue as the global chairwoman.

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Dolman stepped down as the house’s CEO in 2021 and subsequently joined a corporate board that oversees decisions related to finance and operations. Having held executive positions at the Qatar Museums and Christie’s, he led Phillips, the smallest of the big three auction houses, through a period of intense growth that began in 2014. Notably, he raised the house’s profile, with its specialists increasing their focus on buzzy emerging painters.

The latest shift in leadership follows a string of challenges faced by Phillips in the past year as it navigated a more difficult economic climate. The house saw a 15 percent drop in global auction sales from 2022 to 2023.

In October, Phillips’s board decided against paying dividends to its holding company, the Russian-owned Mercury Group, after reporting revenue losses from UK sales in 2022.

Earlier this month, in a statement to ARTnews, Phillips representative attributed Brooks’s resignation to a “personal” matter that was unrelated to downtrending sales or financial losses.

Dolman praised Lo Iacono’s leadership, describing it as “instrumental” to recent growth the company has seen. Dolman claimed that the upcoming year presents more opportunities for Phillips to expand its footprint even further. Lo Iacono echoed the sentiment, expressing confidence about the house’s future.

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