Lloyd's of London, the world's biggest insurance market, has appointed Richard Ward, the former head of London's International Petroleum Exchange, as its new chief executive.
Mr Ward replaces Nick Prettejohn, who was appointed head of life insurer Prudential's UK operations in October.
Lloyd's chairman Lord Levene said Mr Ward had been selected because of his background in running a financial market.
In his six years at IPE he had successfully led it through "a period of radical development designed to improve efficiency and profitability".
Lord Levene continued: "At the IPE, he won consensus among participants with often divergent interests. Those skills will be invaluable in his new role, where the key task is to provide the market with a modern, efficient platform," he noted.
"Lloyd's has made huge progress in recent years and is in good shape but we are clear there is still much to do to improve the market's efficiency and move to the next level. In Richard we will have a strong leader with deep first-hand understanding of financial markets, and the proven skill to drive and deliver change."
Lloyd's is striving to introduce an electronic platform allowing brokers to place business with underwriters more efficiently and transparently. In January, the market shut down Kinnect, an initial attempt at creating such a system, after it failed to attract support.
"I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead Lloyd's on that journey," Mr Ward said.
Lloyd's, which reports its 2005 results on April 6, is expected to at best break even for the year because of hefty claims related to Hurricane Katrina. ..SUPL: