Ex-Virgin Money chief joins cultural shake-up at Lloyd's of London


Lloyd’s of London has appointed the former Virgin Money chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia to help oversee a cultural overhaul at the insurance market after it was rocked by bullying and harassment allegations last year.

Lloyd’s is expected to confirm Gadhia’s involvement on Tuesday as it unveils a culture advisory group that includes members from organisations such as Mental Health UK and the business ethics advisers GoodCorporation. The Guardian understands that the 14-strong team will be tasked with scrutinising changes at the insurance market as it tries to rebuild a tarnished reputation.

The appointment is part of efforts to stamp out bad behaviour at the 334-year-old institution, which last year released a survey showing that nearly 500 of its underwriters and brokers either suffered or witnessed sexual harassment in the previous year.

The survey was commissioned after Bloomberg reported evidence from 18 women alleging widespread sexual harassment, ranging from inappropriate remarks to physical assault.

It prompted the creation of a confidential helpline for Lloyd’s staff in April and the marketplace has since launched a poster campaign to target workers inside the building and those visiting nearby pubs in the City.

In September, the Lloyd’s chief executive, John Neal, said the survey results were “truly terrible”. He pledged to create a working environment “where everyone feels safe, valued and respected”, and said a set of measures would be introduced to build a diverse and inclusive market.

Days later the insurance market confirmed plans for an independent advisory group made up of “leading experts with experience of successful cultural transformation”.

The culture advisory group, first reported by Sky News, is being chaired by Fiona Luck, a Lloyd’s board member in charge of talent and culture. Its members will include Gadhia as well as the GoodCorporation director Debbie Ramsay, the Mental Health UK chief executive, Brian Dow, and John Amaechi, a psychologist and head of the consultancy APS.

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Gadhia currently heads up the UK and Ireland operations of the American software firm Salesforce but she is best known as the former boss of Virgin Money and for designing the Women in Finance charter aimed at boosting gender equality in the financial sector.

The former banking boss was critical of Lloyd’s after the harassment allegations and was last year quoted as saying: “This kind of behaviour has no place in our society, our country or our city.”

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Lloyd’s culture advisory group had its first meeting at the end of January and is expected to meet regularly throughout the year.

Reacting to the news of the newly formed group, Charlotte Woodworth, the gender equality director at the responsible business network Business in the Community, said: “Everyone deserves to work free from harassment or discrimination. Sadly, we know many industries have a long way to go before they can honestly say they’ve looked long and hard at their culture, and taken meaningful action to address any problems.

“This initiative from Lloyd’s has the potential to make real change; as more and more people wake up to the damage a poor working culture does to employees’ wellbeing and businesses’ bottom lines, we hope more employers will start to take action.”

The Guardian contacted Lloyd’s of London for a comment.



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