Phillips CEO Stephen Brooks resigns for personal reasons after two-and-half years

Phillips CEO Stephen Brooks has stepped down for personal reasons after two and a half years at the helm of the auction house, with his LinkedIn profile having changed to "Retired - Self Employed". 

In the interim, the auction house's executive chairman, Edward Dolman, will take over full responsibility for Phillips' management.

Last year, Phillips brought in US$840 million in global auction sales, a 14% increase from pre-pandemic levels. Its sales total in Hong Kong, in particular, was more than US$173 million, which was the second highest in Phillips Asia's history. 

Stephen Brooks has resigned for personal reasons 

An experienced financial and business executive, Stephen Brooks was a graduate of History and Economics from the University of Manchester. After completing his education, he worked as an accountant for eight years. 

In 1997, he joined Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein (DrKW), the investment banking arm of Germany's Dresdner Bank AG, and worked his way up from Head of Financial Reporting, Central Finance, to Global Chief Financial Officer within a short span of eight years.

Following his time at DrKW, he spent more than three years at Schroders, a global asset management firm, where he was also CFO at the time of his resignation. In 2009, he ventured into the auction industry, joining Christie's first as its CFO, then Chief Operating Officer, and eventually Deputy Chief Executive. Finance aside, he had responsibilities in legal functions, marketing, human resources, digital transformation, IT, property portfolio, and expansion into the Mainland market. 

During his 11-year tenure there, he secured several major deal pitches, including the win of the landmark Rockefeller Collection, and the sale of Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi, the most expensive painting in history. 

Phillips Hong Kong relocated its Asia-Pacific headquarters to the West Kowloon Cultural District last year

Phillips Perpetual, which offers a boutique experience to clients for the sale and purchase of watches, was launched in Hong Kong’s Pedder Building last year

Brooks officially began his role as CEO of Phillips in September 2021, a time when the art market was recovering from the pandemic. Under Brooks, Phillips achieved notable global sales, including a record US$1.3 million in 2022, while actively expanding its Asia footprint.

Last year, Phillips became the first major auction house, ahead of Christie's and Sotheby's, to inaugurate its new Asian headquarters in Hong Kong. Strategically located in the city's new arts and cultural hub, the West Kowloon Cultural District, the new headquarters has a permanent exhibition space and saleroom, allowing for more flexibility in its year-round auction schedule.

It also tapped into retail in Hong Kong with the launch of Phillips Perpetual, which boasts a boutique experience for clients for the sale and purchase of fine timepieces.

Meanwhile, a new digital platform, Dropshop, was introduced last year. The new primary market sales model offers buyers the opportunity to instantly purchase limited-edition artwork by its partnered artists or brands every month. What sets this platform apart is that if the artworks released on Dropshop are later sold in Phillips' auctions or sales, the artists will receive a resale royalty commission. 

Besides putting forward new initiatives, Phillips has weathered numerous storms during Brooks' time there, including worsening debt issues and risks of a boycott due to its Russian owners and their ties to the Russo-Ukrainian War. 

Edward Dolman will take over management of global operations in the interim

Following Brooks' resignation, Phillips executive chairman Edward Dolman, who previously served as CEO from 2014 to 2021, will take over management of global operations in the interim. 

Prior to joining Phillips, Dolman spent nearly three decades at Christie's, having led its business in Europe, the Americas, and Amsterdam, before rising to the position of CEO. 

After leaving Christie's, Dolman served as Director of the office of Sheikha Al Mayassa, Chairperson of the Qatar Museums Authority and sister of Qatar's ruling Emir Tamim bin Hamad. She was declared the most influential person in art for many years on the ArtReview Power 100 list. Dolman was also appointed Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Qatar Museums. 

In 2014, Dolman found his way back to the auction industry, joining Phillips as CEO until 2021, when he handed over the position to Brooks and served as executive chairman.