Sandler to step down as Lloyd's chief

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RON SANDLER is leaving Lloyd's of London after four turbulent years as chief executive, saying "the time is right for a new boss". His successor is a Lloyd's insider, Nick Prettejohn, who has been carefully groomed for the job since joining the troubled insurance market at the same time as Mr Sandler.

Mr Sandler, a Zimbabwe-born former head of Exco, the money broker, is coy about what he will do next. "I intend to hand over the reins to Nick in the summer. Then I intend to run a business rather than a market, although I have nothing lined up yet."

Mr Sandler, 46, has worked alongside Sir David Rowland, former chairman of Lloyd's, and the present chairman Max Taylor, to haul the market back from the brink of collapse. He helped create the run-off vehicle Equitas to pay off Lloyd's pre-1993 liabilities.

Mr Prettejohn, 38, a former President of the Oxford Union Society, has been a key member of the reconstruction and renewal team which has supervised the transition from a market dominated by individual names to corporate capital.

Mr Prettejohn's career has spanned Bain, the consultants, Apax Partners and NFC. He was described by one colleague as "a spade-work man, working behind the scenes on the detail of the rescue plan."

When asked how close Lloyd's was to collapse when he joined in 1995, Mr Sandler said: "It was right on the brink of the precipice. If the reconstruction and redevelopment plan hadn't worked it would definitely have collapsed. But that's all ancient history now."

Mr Sandler dismissed groups of discontented Lloyd's Names such as The United Names Organisation as a "small and not significant number of people."

He did acknowledge that other Names were worried by the rapid changeover to corporate capital, but added that "change is often threatening to vested interests."

Mr Prettejohn was non-committal on his priorities for Lloyd's yesterday, saying the first job was to "work through the transition. We will continue our programme of reform and change."