(Bloomberg) -- Lloyd’s of London named Inga Beale as the first female chief executive officer in the insurance market’s 325-year history.

Beale, 50, who was most recently CEO of closely held insurer Canopius Group Ltd., succeeds Richard Ward, who said he would step down in July after almost eight years. Beale starts at the world’s oldest insurance market in January, Lloyd’s said in a statement today.

“This unique market has an extraordinary opportunity to increase its footprint and to cement its position as the global hub for specialist insurance and reinsurance,” Beale said in the statement. “I’m looking forward to working with the Lloyd’s team and the wider market to deliver a strategy for profitable and sustainable growth.”

Beale joins Lloyd’s as the reinsurance industry undergoes what broker Guy Carpenter described as the biggest change to the capital structure in two decades as record low interest rates spur an influx of pension fund money looking for yield. Lloyd’s reported a 9.8 percent fall in first-half profit to 1.38 billion pounds ($2.25 billion) as investment returns slumped.

Beale has 30 years of insurance and reinsurance experience and held the top job at Canopius Group since January 2012. She also worked for Zurich Insurance Group AG for almost four years, including as global chief underwriting officer. As CEO of Converium Ltd., Beale led a turnaround of the Swiss reinsurer before it was acquired in 2007, according to the statement.

Ward, who is due to step down at the end of the month, was last week named chairman of private-equity owned Brit Insurance Holdings BV and is scheduled to start on Feb 1.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Digital Insurance content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access