Lloyd’s has formally begun the search for Inga Beale’s successor as the Corporation’s CEO by appointing a different executive recruitment firm than its usual headhunting duo of Odgers Berndtson or the Zygos Partnership, re-Insurance.com can reveal.

Advising Lloyd’s chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown and the Lloyd’s nominations committee is Ian Lazarus, the former Lloyd’s broker who is a partner at the London-headquartered recruitment firm Sainty, Hird & Partners, sources said.

Lazarus – a well known figure in senior London market recruitment – joined Sainty, Hird & Partners in 2015 from rival practice Miles Partnership.

Last week, Inga Beale confirmed she would be stepping down from the role following discussions between her and Carnegie-Brown, the former Marsh and private equity executive who became chairman of the Society last year. By the end of this year, she will have been in the post for five years and has been a vocal campaigner of improving diversity in the London market while also continuing to encourage greater process reform, a perennial theme for the London insurance market.

Nonetheless, the vacancy comes at a crucial time for Lloyd’s which recently reported its worst results in since 2001 and is once again wrestling with critical strategic challenges to its future with a high expense base, apparently relentless pressure on rates and what many expect to be profound changes to the industry’s distribution model in the next few years.

One of the most eagerly awaited decisions will be whether to elect someone with significant industry experience or to choose an outsider presumably with experience on managing process change, driving efficiencies and responding to changing market dynamics.

If the former, then in theory Lazarus has ample potential candidates with a number of senior London market leaders possibly available. They include leading brokers such as Steve McGill, the former president of Aon; ex-Willis Re boss John Cavanagh; and Aon Benfield exec Dominic Christian.

Another broking executive who may also be in the frame is Steve Hearn - the former deputy CEO of Willis and now chief exec of London wholesaler Ed - who has been a leading voice for change in the London market.

Among underwriting executives there are a number potential candidates who are effectively available including the chairman of Brit Insurance, Mark Cloutier; Andrew Kendrick, the long-serving Chubb executive who leaves later this year; Matthew Fosh, the former Novae CEO; ex-Talbot boss Rupert Atkin; and Beazley’s chief underwriting officer Neil Maidment, who is set to retire at the end of the year.

Other figures with considerable insurance and also operational experience who are likely to be considered include Clive Buesnel, the current head of Deloitte’s UK insurance practice and former XL Catlin executive, Paul Jardine.

The appointment of Sainty, Hird marks a change for Lloyd’s which, in recent years, has used rival firms Odgers Berndtson - the headhunters whose board practice division is chaired by the former Conservative cabinet minister Virginia Bottomley - and the Zygos Partnership. Odgers Berndtson placed Beale into the role in 2014 after running a process the previous year while Zygos recruited Carnegie-Brown last year.

Lazarus began his career with Willis Faber in 1983 and was a managing director at the London energy broker NMB before entering the world of recruitment. In addition to insurance, he specialises in consumer finance, fintech, professional services and the not-for-profit sector.

Lloyd’s did not immediately respond to a request for comment.