Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Mr Barber will take over as chief executive of Bonhams and Butterfields from Geoff Iddison, who will step down as CEO but continue to give help and support on a consultancy basis.

Mr Barber said he would be splitting his time between London and San Francisco and was keen to underline the fact that his group managing director duties, together with his responsibilities to his clients, would remain unaffected by the move.

Butterfields, founded in 1865 during the Gold Rush era, is one of America’s oldest auction houses. Robert Brooks, chairman of Bonhams, said: “The acquisition of Butterfields, with its salerooms in San Francisco and Los Angeles, gave Bonhams its first permanent presence in the United States. We now intend to build on that presence and make the Bonhams name truly

In a related move, it was also announced that as from January 1, Robert Bleasdale, currently regional director of Bonhams in the Midlands and North of England, will take on the new role of managing director of Bonhams UK regional network. Roger Hollest will resume his role of managing director of the New Bond Street saleroom.