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Lloyds of London insurance market CEO resigns

LONDON (Reuters) - The chief executive of insurance market Lloyds of London is stepping down after seven years in which he sought to put the 325-year-old institution on track to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Lloyds said in a statement on Wednesday that Richard Ward would quit as CEO at the end of 2013. It did not give a reason for his departure and a spokesman declined to add further detail.

"This has not been an easy decision to make but as Lloyds' longest-serving CEO, I believe it is now right to hand over the reins to someone else to take Lloyds' into its next chapter," Ward said in the statement.

Lloyds, a collection of about 80 competing insurance syndicates housed in a landmark building at the heart of London's financial district, started life in 1688 as a gathering of shipping merchants in a coffee house.

Ward, a one-time scientist with a chemistry PhD, joined Lloyds in 2006 from the International Petroleum Exchange, where he was best known for introducing electronic trading to one of the last bastions of open outcry.

Under his charge, the Lloyds market has moved to lift its profile in overseas markets such as Brazil and China and has introduced new technology.

His tenure at Lloyds was also marked by the costliest year on record for natural catastrophes, with severe earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand as well as tornadoes in North America hitting the profits of insurers during 2011.

Listed companies which operate syndicates at Lloyds include Catlin , Hiscox and Amlin .

(Reporting by Chris Vellacott; Editing by David Holmes)

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