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M. Wurttemberg, 40, has worked for Sotheby’s since 1996, initially as a specialist in European furniture.
Robin Woodhead, chief executive of Sotheby’s Europe, calls Wurttemberg (whose mother is French) a “veritable European” who will “reinforce Paris as a major international auction centre”.

“When Laure de Beauvau told us of her wish to lighten her workload, she immediately proposed Philipp as a possible successor as she already has an excellent working relationship with him,” he added.

Sotheby’s also stress that Wurttemberg has important contacts in the world of Modern and Contemporary art, suggesting that sourcing paintings for sale in London or New York will be a major part of his job.