By Vladimir Guevarra
LONDON—Lloyd's of London, the U.K.'s 323-year-old insurance and reinsurance market, said John Nelson will succeed Chairman Peter Levene , who has been at the helm for nine years, the longest term in the past 125 years.
Mr. Nelson, 63 year old, will start his new job in October. He is currently chairman of Hammerson /zigman2/quotes/206876822/delayed UK:HMSO -1.83% PLC, a property investment and development company, and deputy chairman of Kingfisher /zigman2/quotes/200571451/delayed UK:KGF -0.04% PLC, Europe's biggest home-improvement retailer by sales.
Mr. Nelson's appointment comes at a critical time, with insurers grappling with a series of major disasters across the world and the insurance industry undergoing regulatory changes after the 2008 financial crisis.
Last month, Lloyd's posted a 43% fall in full-year pretax profit, hit by higher catastrophe claims and lower investment returns. For the year ended Dec. 31, Lloyd's posted a pretax profit of £2.2 billion ($3.58 billion) , compared with £3.87 billion a year earlier.
"Recent events in Japan, New Zealand and Australia remind us of the vital role Lloyd's and other insurers play in helping communities and businesses rebuild after disaster. Lloyd's is in robust shape both to meet these challenges and to develop its role as the foremost provider of specialist insurance to the world's most prominent companies," Mr. Nelson said in a statement.
Lloyd's Chief Executive Richard Ward said: "Lloyd's is in strong financial shape and can face the future with confidence. John's business experience makes him the perfect candidate to take on this role and help Lloyd's build on its position as the preeminent market for specialist insurance."
"I am very pleased that the Council of Lloyd's has chosen John, who is an experienced businessman with a successful record. He is an excellent choice," Lord Levene said in a statement.
Mr. Nelson and Lord Levene weren't immediately available for further comment.
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