The changing face of Lloyd's

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REFORMS of the management structure of the Lloyd's of London insurance market began yesterday with confirmation that Peter Middleton has been appointed to the newly created, pounds 250,000-a-year post of chief executive.

Mr Middleton, 52, is a former monk and present chief executive of the Thomas Cook travel agency business. He succeeds Alan Lord, a former leading civil servant and industrialist, as the top permanent official of the club-like insurance community, but in a greatly changed role.

Unlike Mr Lord, Mr Middleton will not have the courtesy title of 'deputy chairman' of Lloyd's. Instead he will merely have a place on the Lloyd's ruling council.

Although his terms of reference were not disclosed yesterday, his role will also be more limited than those of his predecessors, Mr Lord and Ian Hay Davison, the accountant appointed as the first chief executive of Lloyd's in 1983.

Previous chief executives have had a responsibility for regulation, a duty that they had to perform in the wake of a series of scandals in the early 1980s when it emerged that professional underwriters had stolen money belonging to the wider membership of the insurance market.

The Bank of England insisted that Lloyd's bring in Mr Davison, who had no connections with the market, and that any appointment of a future chief executive should be approved by the Governor of the Bank.

Mr Middleton, whose appointment has the Bank's approval, will no longer have responsibility for regulation. His duties have been changed from those of his predecessors following recommendations by Sir Jeremy Morse, chairman of Lloyds Bank and a member of Lloyd's council, who examined the management structure of the insurance market earlier this year after concerns among the membership.

Mr Middleton will be responsible for developing the business of the market. A separate regulatory body has yet to be set up.

'I look forward to managing a period of change,' Mr Middleton said yesterday. 'A first priority is to meet as many people as possible in the next few weeks and listen to them.'

He admitted that he has had no previous experience of insurance.

(Photograph omitted)