Mr Goodman said Sotheby’s jewellery and decorative arts divisions had boosted the company’s results, in the face of a difficult market for both finding buyers and consigning items for auction across the company’s divisions, which include Australian art, Aboriginal art and cars.

“Jewellery is a highly profitable part of our business, and this year we had the third-best decorative arts sale in Sotheby’s history,” he said.

Turnover of senior department heads has been high in the 12 months since Goodman acquired a 10-year licence to operate under the Sotheby’s banner thoughout Australia.