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The 27-year veteran of Sotheby’s who joined Phillips in September 2000, before the arrival of de Pury & Luxembourg, to launch the department, will leave after the sale of the John Hobbs Collection of Furniture and Decorations on October 22.

The auction house say they will now focus all their efforts on eight categories: Impressionist and Modern art; Contemporary, Swiss and American paintings; photography, 20th and 21st century design, watches and jewellery.

The consolidation of their activities reflects the management’s intention of concentrating on the high-revenue earning collecting fields. Chief executive Louise T. Blouin MacBain revealed that turnover in their chosen categories had risen from $100m per annum in 2000, before the de Pury & Luxembourg take-over, to $280m in 2001.

The company now have a series of divisional heads: Michel Strauss, the world-renowned expert in Impressionist and Modern paintings, with over 40 years experience in the field, who heads the paintings department; David Bennett, with more than 30 years experience, who is head of the International jewellery division; and Philippe Garner, in charge of photographs and 20th and 21st century design.