Michel Barnier has been appointed to head Brexit negotiations ©Getty Images

Michel Barnier, the co-President of the Albertville 1992 Winter Olympic Organising Committee, has been appointed to lead the European Union's negotiations with Britain following their decision to exit the continential bloc.

The decision was announced by European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker today following Britain's historic referendum decision last month to leave.

Barnier served as co-head of the Winter Olympics alongside Jean-Claude Killy, the Alpine skiing legend who subsequently served as head of the International Olympic Committee's Coordination Commissions for the Turin 2006 and Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

Both were widely praised for their leadership roles in Albertville, with Barnier moving into politics and being appointed to the French Cabinet barely a year later.

He subsequently served as French Foreign and Agriculture Minister.

He has also served as part of the EU Commission, holding the key financial services portfolio from 2010 to 2014 as the bloc recovered from the global financial crisis.

Michel Barnier (right) alongside co-President Jean-Claude Killy during Albertville 1992 ©Getty Images
Michel Barnier (right) alongside co-President Jean-Claude Killy during Albertville 1992 ©Getty Images

“I am very glad that my friend Michel Barnier accepted this important and challenging task, I wanted an experienced politician for this difficult job,” Juncker said today.

“I am sure that he will live up to this new challenge and help us to develop a new partnership with the United Kingdom."

Barnier's success in the last two decades is one of the best examples of an Olympic organiser enjoying a political career partly as a consequence of his Olympic work.

He was also the architect of the last Olympics - summer of winter - to be held in France, with the nation currently bidding for the 2024 Games.

He tweeted that he was “honoured” by the appointment, which he will begin on October 1.