Lloyd’s has confirmed that former QBE boss John Neal will replace outgoing CEO Inga Beale, as first revealed by re-Insurance.com yesterday.

In a statement, Lloyd’s said Neal will take the helm in just over a month’s time, well before Beale’s expected departure, which was slated for next year.

Neal’s appointment was unanimously approved by the Council of Lloyd’s, the statement said.

The Corporation said the executive’s whole career had been associated with Lloyd’s, first as an underwriter and later as CEO of the Ensign Managing Agency.

But Neal’s most recent post was by far his biggest as CEO of Australian reinsurance giant QBE, a position he left at the end of last year.

There, he was responsible for running a $14bn book for a company with 14,000 employees across 37 countries, Lloyd’s said.

In a statement, Lloyd’s chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown said: “John will continue Lloyd’s focus on delivering sustainable profitability, through a combination of underwriting discipline and market modernisation.

“An immediate priority will be the successful launch of Lloyd’s Brussels subsidiary which will enable Lloyd’s to continue serving its customers in the European Economic Area after Brexit,” he continued.

“His wealth of experience both at Lloyd’s and internationally, including the US, will bring new insights and fresh thinking at a challenging time for the global insurance industry.”

Neal said he was “thrilled” to land to CEO role, adding that he will approach it with the same excitement he felt when he first stepped into the Underwriting Room back in 1985.

“The insurance sector is facing many challenges,” he said.

“For 330 years the Lloyd’s market has demonstrated its ability to innovate and adapt, and I look forward to playing my part to ensure this unique marketplace remains at the forefront of global commercial corporate and specialty insurance and reinsurance.”

Carnegie-Brown, who has worked alongside Beale since he took the chairman role last year, said he was grateful for the outgoing CEO for her five years of leadership in what he described as a “challenging” time for the market.

“She has driven the market’s modernisation programme, the success of which is evident not least in the recent rapid increase in electronic placement volumes and the launch of the Lloyd’s Lab.”

Neal, who is in his mid-fifties, will return to his native England to take up the post.

His experience in leading the turnaround of QBE was understood to be a deciding factor in a shortlist of candidates that included Deloitte’s well-regarded head of UK insurance, Clive Buesnel.

His LinkedIn profile said that he also enhanced QBE’s major broker relationships in the UK and international markets.

On Neal’s Linkedin profile, he lists his achievements as integrating Lloyd’s and QBE Insurance’s underwriting interests. He said he also restructured the business into a defined product and distribution matrix and developed and launched QBE’s UK national proposition.

Neal oversaw a tough period in QBE’s history after he was forced to write down the value of a number of the firm’s earlier acquisitions causing a stock-price crash in 2013 after he succeeded long-serving CEO Frank O’Halloran.

The search for Beale’s successor was led by Sainty, Hird Partner Ian Lazarus.

Lloyd’s said Neal’s appointment was still subject to approval and consent from the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority.