When Lloyd’s Register (LR) announced last August that maritime specialist Nick Brown would be its next chief executive, there were a few puzzled looks from long-time observers of the classification society.

No one doubted his commitment, having come up through the ranks to be the group’s director of marine and offshore immediately before his appointment.

Although well-respected and liked, it marked a sharp contrast with his predecessor Alastair Marsh, an accountant appointed five years previously from his role as chief financial officer.