Lloyd’s of London has chosen former QBE Insurance Group CEO John Neal as its new leader.
Neal assumes the role of Lloyd’s latest chief executive officer starting on Oct. 15. He succeeds Inga Beale, who announced in June 2018 that she would step down after leading the global insurance and reinsurance market for five years. The Council of Lloyd’s voted unanimously to appoint Neal to the job.
“His wealth of experience … will bring new insights and fresh thinking at a challenging time for the global insurance industry,” Lloyd’s Chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown said in prepared remarks.
Carnegie-Brown added that Neal will continue Lloyd’s mission of helping it deliver “sustainable profitability, through a combination of underwriting discipline and market modernization.”
Also high on the list for Neal, according to Carnegie-Brown, will be leading the Lloyd’s launch of its post-Brexit subsidiary in Brussels, which was established to seamlessly reach its EU customers after Britain leaves the European Union. Beale established the Lloyd’s Brussel’s outpost.
Neal, in a brief LinkedIn posting, said he was “excited to be joining Lloyd’s and to be part of building the future with and for all of the market’s stakeholders, partners and customers.”
QBE, Controversy and History
Neal had been Group chief executive officer at QBE for five years before he stepped down in September 2017. As Group CEO, he was credited with implementing a successful turnaround strategy for the insurer, which had been dealing with write-downs in North America and rising claims in Latin America. Toward the end of his tenure, he was embroiled in scandal over an affair with his secretary that was not properly disclosed as part of QBE’s code of conduct.
Before QBE, Neal’s whole career has been associated with the Lloyd’s market, first as an underwriter and later as CEO of the Ensign Managing Agency, the Lloyd’s announcement pointed out. QBE itself is a global insurance and reinsurance business with a big Lloyd’s footprint.
At QBE, Neal ran a $14 billion gross written premium business with over 14,000 employees in 37 countries.
Beale joined Lloyd’s in January 2014, succeeding CEO Richard Ward. The first woman to serve as Lloyd’s CEO, she brought to the job three decades of international insurance and reinsurance experience.
Beale emphasized throughout her tenure the need to streamline Lloyd’s through the use of technology, with a goal of saying good-bye to paper trading by the end of 2019. She advocated a focus on emerging markets for new growth and also more diversity in the industry’s employment ranks.
Lloyd’s experienced a $2.8 billion pre-tax loss in 2017, Beale’s last full year as CEO. H2 2017 hurricanes and wildfires were partly to blame for those losses, along with a continued deterioration in Lloyd’s attritional, or non-catastrophe losses due mostly to price deterioration in a competitive marketplace.
Carnegie-Brown thanked Beale for her leadership in what he termed “a challenging time for the market.
“She has driven the market’s modernization program, the success of which is evident not least in the recent rapid increase in electronic placement volumes and the launch of the Lloyd’s Lab,” he said.
Neal’s appointment is pending approval from UK regulators: The Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority.