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Beauvau Craon, who oversaw Sotheby’s first sale in Paris in November 2001, told the Antiques Trade Gazette that she had fulfilled what she was asked to do and felt it was “time to pass on the baby to someone else”. She will become honorary chairman of Sotheby’s France and retain an office in Paris.

“I will concentrate on business-getting, which I love doing … I was bogged down by all the administration,” she said.

Beauvau-Craon will remain a deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, and continue to be a member of France’s auction watchdog the Conseil des Ventes.

Her successor as head of Sotheby’s France is expected to be named shortly.