Richard Ward has quit as chief executive of the Lloyd's of London insurance market, ending months of speculation about his future.
The 56-year-old, who is credited with steering the City institution successfully through the financial crisis, will step down from his role in December.
Market insiders have speculated for some time that Mr Ward was seeking a new challenge after eight years in the job. He said: "It has been a huge privilege to lead this great institution, and I am very proud of what has been achieved in my time as chief executive. Some 325 years after its birth, Lloyd's continues to evolve, adapt and thrive and has maintained its position at the centre of the insurance world.
"This has not been an easy decision to make but, as Lloyd's longest-serving chief executive, I believe it is now right to hand over the reins to someone else to take Lloyd's into its next chapter. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my management team, Lloyd's staff and the entire market for their support throughout my time at the helm."
Lloyd's said it will now begin a search for Mr Ward's successor.
Chairman John Nelson said: "The Lloyd's market is in a significantly stronger position that when he joined, and Richard deserves great credit for this, as does the management team. This early announcement allows us to select a successor in a timely manner."
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