Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), will be the next chairman of the Lloyd's syndicate Ascot Underwriting, the firm announced.

Ascot said Sir Richard has links to the insurance industry through his membership with the International Advisory Board of New York-based American International Group. Ascot is backed by AIG.

Sir Richard's formal appointment to his new post will come on Nov. 28 at the next board meeting, Ascot said. He will take over from current Chairman Lord Prior, who has been in the post since Ascot began trading in 2001.

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