Phillips, one of the world’s leading auction houses, is facing a period of uncertainty following the resignation of its CEO, Stephen Brooks. Brooks, who joined Phillips in 2021, has stepped down after two and a half years at the helm, citing personal reasons.
His departure comes at a time when Phillips is grappling with a downturn in sales and the fallout from its ties to Russian owners. The company’s global auction sales declined by 15% between 2022 and 2023, and it did not pay a dividend to its Russian owners last year due to revenue losses.
Phillips’ board of directors has appointed Ed Dolman, the company’s former CEO, to take over as interim leader. Dolman will oversee the company’s global operations and management until a new CEO is appointed.
Brooks’ tenure at Phillips was marked by both challenges and successes. He guided the company through the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, which put scrutiny on its Russian owners. Under his leadership, Phillips also expanded its presence in Asia, opening a new headquarters in Hong Kong. However, the company’s recent financial performance has been lackluster, with a decline in sales in both London and Hong Kong.
Industry experts believe that Phillips’ challenges are partly due to the broader economic downturn and the increasing dominance of larger auction houses such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s. The company’s ties to Russian owners have also raised questions about its reputation and ability to attract high-end clients.
Phillips is now at a crossroads, and it remains to be seen how it will navigate the current challenges. The appointment of a new CEO will be crucial in determining the company’s future direction and success.