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Lloyd’s chief endured ‘sexist abuse’

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Retiring Lloyd’s CEO Inga Beale has revealed she suffered sexist and homophobic abuse when she took the job in 2014.

Ms Beale, who is bisexual, told the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper some of the abuse came from “male financiers”, and she also took a swipe at the fact a man – former QBE CEO John Neal – will succeed her. 

“Anonymous messages were sent to [then chairman John Nelson] about me, and some emails and letters were sent directly to me,” she says in the interview. “They were rude, sexist and homophobic. 

“My way of coping was immediately to delete the emails and throw away the letters, so it didn’t prevent me from moving forward.”

Ms Beale came out as bisexual in 2008 and has for the past five years led a drive for greater diversity and inclusion in the industry, while running an organisation often criticised for its resistance to change.

She is the only woman to have held the top job at Lloyd’s since it was founded 332 years ago.

Ms Beale told the newspaper women who reach top jobs “are pretty certain” a man will succeed them “because companies think, ‘We’ve done that’, by appointing one woman”.

“Male City workers comment in surprised terms when they hire a woman to a top job and she performs well,” she said.