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Mr Girling, the talismanic jewellery specialist who has been with Bonhams for over 10 years, has been unofficially spearheading Bonhams’ push into Europe for more than a year.

While he will continue his brief as global head of jewellery, his new position sees him adopt in Europe a role similar to that of group chief executive Malcolm Barber in the USA, to whom he will report directly.

Bonhams chairman Robert Brooks has also chosen to reward two other established specialists with senior positions that will change the day-to-day running of the company.

Colin Sheaf remains deputy group chairman and chairman of Bonhams Asia, but also becomes chairman of a new UK board that consolidates the Knightsbridge, Bond Street, Scottish and Regional boards.

Directors from these former boards will now assume a pan-UK responsibility.

Pippa Stockdale, managing director of Knightsbridge, takes on Bonhams Bond Street as well as managing director London.

Bob Bleasdale, UK group managing director, will continue with this brief with particular responsibility for the regions.

Shahin Virani, will take on the new role of group operations director Europe.