Lloyd's has begun the search to find a new chief executive after Nick Prettejohn announced his resignation.

Prettejohn is to join life insurer Prudential as chief executive of its UK operations, replacing Mark Wood.

He will remain as Lloyd's chief executive until the end of the year. Luke Savage, director of finance and risk management at Lloyd's, will then become acting chief executive. A Lloyd's spokeswoman confirmed that the search process had begun. "We'll be considering both internal and external candidates," she said.

Sources suggest that Julian James, Lloyd's director for worldwide markets, is the leading internal candidate. But detractors say he does not have sufficient "hard financial experience" to be suitable.

Lloyd's head of change management and human resources Steven Haasz is also thought to be interested in applying for the chief executive position. But he too is said to be lacking in experience.

Bronek Masojada, chief executive of Hiscox and Lloyd's deputy chairman, could be another contender.