Hammerson’s Nelson to be Lloyd’s chair

JOHN Nelson, chairman of shopping centre developer Hammerson, was named the next chair of the Lloyd’s of London insurance market yesterday.

Nelson, who is also deputy chairman of home improvement firm Kingfisher, will take over from long-standing chair Lord Levene in October.

He will receive a £525,000 salary plus benefits for the post, which will take up about three days of his time per week, Lloyd’s revealed. He will retire from Kingfisher this year.

“It is a great honour for me to accept this role and I look forward to playing my part in steering the world’s leading insurance market through the next stage of its evolution,” he said in a statement.

Richard Ward, Lloyd’s’ chief executive, said: “John’s business experience makes him the perfect candidate to take on this role and help Lloyd’s build on its position as the pre-eminent market for specialist insurance.”

A chartered accountant and investment banker, Nelson’s City career spans more than 30 years at Kleinwort Benson and then Lazard, where he was head of corporate finance and vice chairman. He became chairman of Credit Suisse First Boston Europe in 1999 but retired in 2002 and took a series of directorships in major UK companies.

As Hammerson chairman, Nelson successfully led it through a difficult recession and £584m rescue rights issue in 2009 to a strong recovery.

Levene, a former government adviser and banker, steps down after nine years leading Lloyd’s.

He is widely credited with restoring the group to financial health and expanding it into major emerging economies. He also oversaw its adoption of new technologies on the trading floor, replacing the brokers’ paper contract slips with iPads.