Lloyd's of London has appointed Inga Beale as the insurance market's first ever female chief executive in its 325-year history.

Beale has more than 30 years' experience in the industry, having held senior roles at Zurich, Canopius Group, GE Insurance and Prudential. She will take up her new role in January 2014.

"Lloyd's is already an international leader, but this unique market has an extraordinary opportunity to increase its footprint and to cement its position as the global hub for specialist insurance and reinsurance," Beale said.

"I'm looking forward to working with the Lloyd's team and the wider market to deliver a strategy for profitable and sustainable growth alongside Lloyd's robust market oversight."

John Nelson, chairman of Lloyd's, said he is "absolutely delighted" Beale was appointed.

"Her CEO experience, underwriting background, international experience and operational skills, together with her knowledge of the Lloyd's market, make Inga the ideal Chief Executive for Lloyd's. I very much look forward to working with her," he said.

Beale's appointment comes at a time when more women are breaking through into boardrooms and top positions than ever before.

US carmaker General Motors appointed Mary Barra as its first ever female chief executive, while internet company Yahoo! has had Marissa Meyer at the helm since July 2012.

Read more:

Battle for Women in the Boardroom Masks Fight for Equal Pay

Glass Ceiling: Addressing the Boardroom Gender Gap [BLOG]

Women in the City: Skanska's Katy Dowding on Breaking the Glass Ceiling