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The group, the parent company of provincial auctioneers Dreweatt Neate and Neales, have created the position following two years of rapid expansion and rebranding and are looking to draw on Mr Barthaud’s skills of running a company with a diverse range of departments and activities.

Mr Barthaud cited the internet and catering for more selective buyers as key challenges for the coming period.

Fine Art Auction Group chief executive Mike Thoms said that Mr Barthaud would “add considerably to our management team”, giving it the strength and depth to develop the business.

Mr Barthaud leaves Spink as former controlling shareholder John Koh sells his stake to co-owner Olivier Stocker.