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Simon de Pury sells company stake to Russian firm

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Simon de Pury, top auctioneer and chairman at auction house Phillips de Pury & Company, has left his role after 12 years leading the house’s watch, jewellery and design auctions.

De Pury is understood to have left the role after his financial interest in Phillips de Pury was sold to Russian investors in December.

According to Artlyst, Russian luxury product distributor The Mercury Group has closed its acquisition deal of Simon de Pury’s remaining interest in Phillips de Pury & Company. The company first bought into Phillips de Pury in 2008, with Simon de Pury remaining part of the auction house in what was dubbed “a strategic partnership”.

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De Pury was the auctioneer at the large-scale auction of rare Swatch timepieces from the Blum Collection in 2011.

He said of his departure: "During the wonderful and exciting years I had the privilege to spend at Phillips de Pury & Company the firm has become a major taste maker in contemporary art, design and photography. I embark on new adventures comfortable with the knowledge that the company is in an excellent position and has been going from strength to strength.

“Thanks to the vision and commitment of its owners, the Mercury Group, and to the great professional competence of its CEO, Michael McGinnis, the company is ideally equipped for a very successful future. My gratitude goes to them and all of my wonderful colleagues."

Phillips was founded in 1796, and was bought by Bonham’s in the 1990s. It was later sold to Luxembourg auction house de Pury & Company but in 2013 will revert back to Phillips, with plans to extend the company’s presence with a New York office and gallery space on Park Avenue.

Michael McGinnis, chief executive of the re-named Phillips, said: "Our legacy has been enriched by Simon’s many contributions during his tenure at the company. His vision to focus on contemporary culture was a catalyst in establishing our brand as a market leader.

“Simon has served as a tireless ambassador for the company and a compelling presence on the podium. We thank him for his spirited enthusiasm, leadership and dedication. Simon has been an inspirational collaborator, business partner and friend over the past decade and I wish him well on what will surely be an exciting new chapter in his career."

Mercury Group represents luxury goods brands in Russia, including Armani, Breitling, Chopard, Faberge and Tiffany.

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