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After the abrupt departure last month of its former CEO Stephen Brooks PhillipsEd Dolman has been reinstated as the head of the auction house. Dolman will take on a newly-created position that combines his current role with the CEO position.
Phillips has reorganized some of its executive team in response to the departure. 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 from London will continue in her role as global chairwoman.
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 leadership change follows a series of challenges Phillips faced in the last year as it navigated an increasingly difficult economic climate. The house saw global auction sales drop by 15 percent 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.
In a recent statement, I called for the government to take immediate action. 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 said that Phillips has more opportunities to expand in the coming year. Lo Iacono echoed the sentiment, expressing confidence about the house’s future.