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Neal takes up a new challenge

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Former QBE group CEO John Neal’s appointment as CEO of Lloyd’s continues a recurring theme in his insurance career – transforming large but cumbersome organisations.

As reported in a Breaking News bulletin on Saturday, the Council of Lloyd’s has unanimously approved Mr Neal as successor to Inga Beale, who will leave the job next month.

Mr Neal served as the Sydney-based global CEO of QBE from 2012 until last December. He will begin work at Lloyd’s on October 15.

The market says Mr Neal has been associated with Lloyd’s throughout his career, first as an underwriter, then as CEO of the managing agency Ensign, and then as head of QBE’s European operations before becoming its group CEO.

“He brings significant experience as a global CEO who has a track record as a highly effective leader who can deliver business transformation,” Lloyd’s says in a statement.

Mr Neal succeeded Frank O’Halloran at QBE in 2012 and spent much of the next five years rationalising its spread of global businesses and dealing with an increasingly critical investment community. He was dogged by a personal scandal a few months before he left the company last year.

London market sources told insuranceNEWS.com.au the experience Mr Neal gained in reorganising and rationalising QBE’s global operations is needed at Lloyd’s.

Ms Beale has spent five years forcing cultural and technological change on an often-reluctant market membership. 

“She’ll probably be glad to see the back of the place,” one underwriter told insuranceNEWS.com.au. “She has done a great job bringing change to Lloyd’s, but it hasn’t been easy for her. Plus there’s a lot of other operational things that need urgent attention.”

One of those priorities is for Lloyd’s to focus on setting up its new Europe subsidiary in Brussels, in anticipation of the UK’s exit from the European Union.

The market sources also say Lloyd’s must move faster building business in emerging markets, increase its profile in the vital US market and accelerate its technological transformation.

Lloyd’s Chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown says Mr Neal “will bring new insights and fresh thinking” to the market and “continue Lloyd’s focus on delivering sustainable profitability through a combination of underwriting discipline and market modernisation”.