Headhunters have been appointed to find a successor to Mike Williams as Biba chief executive.

Biba staff were told of the move on Tuesday. Williams, who joined Biba in 1995 from Willis, will head up a new, as yet, unspecified venture. He was appointed chief executive in 1997.

Market sources have tipped Broker Network head Grant Ellis as the next chief executive, following his high profile lobbying of the FSA over broker regulation.

Biba chairman Hamish Ritchie said: "We are all obviously disappointed that Mike is leaving.

"The skills and talents he has brought to the Biba team during

the last eight years have enabled us to become the leading trade body for brokers and intermediaries in the UK.

"The organisation is in superb shape and has a highly professional team that will continue to take Biba forward.

"During Mike's years at Biba, the organisation has seen some challenging times, the demise of the Insurance Brokers' Registration Council (IBRC), establishment of GISC, and the progress towards FSA compliance and regulation.

"The positioning and profile of the organisation has dramatically improved during recent years and we have been able to tackle some of the major insurance issues: flooding; terrorism; liability; and service standards, achieving highly effective results for brokers and their clients."

Mike Williams said: "Biba has become a significant part of my life during the last eight years and making the decision to leave, to explore new pastures has been amazingly difficult.

"However, setting up a new venture was one offer I could not refuse. So it is time for me to move on. I will leave behind me a superb team, who are thoroughly professional."

The rise of Mike Williams
Mike Williams began his career in 1969 as a junior trainee fire insurance clerk at the National Employers Mutual in Manchester. He then joined Reed Stenhouse UK. Following two promotions he joined Ernest A Notcutt & Co as regional development manager.

In 1981 he joined Stewart Wrightson as an account executive, moving to divisional director and then regional director with responsibility for the Manchester broking centre.

A short spell in the US followed, where he was vice president of Stewart Smith in Dallas, Texas.

On his return to the UK, he joined Willis Wrightson working in both Maidstone and Leicester.

In 1989 he joined Pointon York as a director with responsibility for profitability, new business generation and servicing.

In 1990 he joined Sedgwick UK as regional director and branch manager and in 1995 set up affinity group insurance services - a small company to develop and administer general insurance programmes for large affinity groups.

He joined Biba in May 1995.