Lloyd’s of London, the world’s oldest insurance market, named John Nelson chairman, replacing Peter Levene, who is stepping down after nine years.
Nelson, chairman of property investment trust Hammerson Plc, will take up the position when Levene’s term ends in October, Lloyd’s said in a statement today. Nelson, 63, will step down later this year as deputy chairman of Kingfisher Plc, Europe’s largest home-improvement retailer.
Lloyd’s insurers were hurt last year by earthquakes in Chile and New Zealand, flooding in Australia, as well as the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, which caused a spill of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Full-year profit dropped 44 percent on catastrophe-related claims, Lloyd’s said last month.
“My main aims will be to keep underwriting quality high and maintain it there, as well to make sure Solvency II and other regulation is proportional,” Nelson said in a telephone interview today. He will also seek to “increase the footprint of Lloyd’s outside its traditional markets,” he said, citing China, Russia and Brazil as targets for expansion.
Nelson worked at Lazard Ltd. for 13 years before becoming chairman of Credit Suisse First Boston’s European arm in 1999. He retired three years later. He will remain chairman of Hammerson after taking up the position at Lloyd’s.
Levene, 69, joined Lloyd’s in 2002 when the market was reeling from record losses after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York. He oversaw the creation of a so-called Franchise Board, which monitors underwriting data on a day-to-day basis and aims to limit insurers accumulating excessive risk. Last year, he started NBNK Investments Plc to buy U.K. bank assets.
Nelson will receive an annual salary of 525,000 pounds ($854,000) from Lloyd’s. Levene earned 816,000 pounds as Lloyd’s chairman in 2009, including a salary of 632,000 pounds, according to the market’s annual report.