Shakeups of Two Major Auction Houses: Former Christie’s Executive Named As Phillips’ New CEO, Amy Cappellazzo to Leave Sotheby’s

Last week saw the new appointments across two auction houses. Former financial chief of Christie’s Stephen Brooks will succeed Edward Dolman to become Phillips’ CEO. Dolman will transition to the newly created position of Executive Chairman starting from September.

Meanwhile, an influential figure in the industry, Amy Cappellazzo, will step down from her position as the head of Sotheby’s fine art division at the end of June. Young leaders Brooke Lampley and Mari-Claudia Jiménez will be at the helm.

Stephen Brooks appointed Phillips' new CEO


Before joining the art world, Stephen Brooks spent over a decade in the financial sectors after graduating from The University of Manchester with a degree in History and Economics. He had worked at the multinational asset management company Schroders and was the global CFO for the Frankfurt-based investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein (DrKW).

Prior to his departure from Christie's last August, Brooks last held the position as the auction house’s deputy CEO, overseeing the financial operations. He joined the house as CFO in 2009, in the midst of the Great Recession. Besides leading the house to ride through the financial crisis, he was also responsible for a spectrum of corporate functions at Christie’s, including legal, marketing, human resources, online commerce, real estate, and the house’s geographic expansion into mainland China.

Under his tenure of 11 years, Christie’s had won a number of top consignments, including the US$835m Peggy & David Rockefeller art collection in 2018, and the sale of the world’s most expensive painting ever sold at public auction, Leonardo Da Vinci's Salvator Mundi in 2017.

Brooks led the negotiations at Christie’s and secured the Peggy and David Rockefeller’s collection in 2018

Edward Dolman named Phillips’ Executive Chairman

Dolman is credited with strengthening Phillips’ position in Asia 


With Brooks’ appointment, Edward Dolman will transition to the role of Phillips’ Executive Chairman, a position regarded in the industry as paving the way for his departure eventually. Before taking the helm at Phillips, Dolman had spent 27 years at Christie’s, where he oversaw the business development across America and Europe before being promoted to the CEO position. 

After he left Christie’s, he had served as the director of the Qatar Museums Authority, to oversee three museums across Doha, and to develop plans for the art and culture development in the State of Qatar, 

He returned to the art auction circle in 2014 to become Phillips’ CEO to compel the auction house to a more expanded network worldwide, including the establishment of the Hong Kong saleroom that he spearheaded in 2015. Last autumn, Phillips Hong Kong collaborated with Chinese state-owned auction house Poly Auction to conduct a joint 20th century and contemporary sale, to strengthen Phillips’ presence in mainland China. The partnership will continue this spring, scheduled for June 7 and 8.

Amy Cappellazzo will leave Sotheby’s at the end of June


Over at Sotheby’s, after months of speculation, Amy Cappellazzo, the New York-based chairman of the house’s fine art division will step down from her position and end her journey at Sotheby’s for five and a half years.

The influential rainmaker often appears in interviews with media, including a 2018 HBO documentary titled "The Price of Everything," which sheds light on the behind-the-scene aspects in the contemporary art industry.

Like Brooks and Dolman, a significant part of Cappellazzo’s career also took place at Christie’s, where she led the post-war and contemporary art department. Prior to that, she was an art advisor, curator, and key figure in the establishment of Art Basel in Miami Beach. 

Amy Cappellazzo (left) and Allan Schwartzman (right)


Cappellazzo left Christie’s in 2014, and teamed up with art advisor Allan Schwartzman and founded Art Agency, Partners. The duo later joined Sotheby’s after their joint venture was acquired by the auction house for US$85m in 2016. 

Following Sotheby’s internal restructuring, Cappellazzo led the expanded global fine art division, overseeing both public auctions and private sales of old masters, impressionist, modern and contemporary art, and Asian art, among other fine arts sectors, which are now separated from the rest of the global luxury division after the reorganization.

Brooke Lampley


Brooke Lampley and Mari-Claudia Jiménez will lead the global fine art division. Lampley currently holds the position of the division’s vice chairman and her new role as the chairman and worldwide head of sales will include overseeing both auctions and private sales for old masters, impressionist and modern art, as well as contemporary art, among others. Previously, she worked in curatorial departments at a handful of museums, including The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. She also served as the head of the impressionist and modern department before leaving Christie’s in 2017.

Mari-Claudia Jiménez


Whereas, Mari-Claudia Jiménez, who is currently the house’s managing director of Trusts & Estates and Valuations department, will take on the role as chairman, managing director and worldwide head of business deveopment, and will be taking her 20-year expertise as a noted art lawyer to enhance the house's global business development. The shakeup also includes Grégoire Billault’s promotion from head to chairman of contemporary art. 

Grégoire Billault

Sotheby's reported a global sales total of over US$5bn in 2020, for the first time in recently history, overtaking its major rival Christie's, which reported an annual sales total of US$4.4bn.