It is a great honour to be elected president of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) and I am delighted to be able to give something back to a profession that has been such an important part of my life for so many years.
When I started my insurance career 35 years ago, I hadn't been to university. Instead, I qualified as an Associate of the CII in 1987 and it remains my only professional qualification! As I begin my presidency, it is worth reflecting on the global economic, political and social change that is making it increasingly difficult to predict what the future might hold. International political instability continues unabated and the balance of power is shifting from established to emerging markets. In the UK, Brexit negotiations will continue to dominate the headlines during the next year, as the government works to develop a new relationship with the EU.
Among all the uncertainty, the insurance sector has an important job to do -- to deliver safety, security and stability to customers all around the world who are concerned and impacted by the unsettling events happening around them. Th e CII's role in building public confidence, credibility and trust in our sector has never been more important. Following the launch of the Strategic Manifesto in November, CEO Sian Fisher and the team have embarked on an ambitious five-year change programme, which will evolve the CII into a more diverse, modern and relevant organisation. The new branding is one of the first major milestones and I look forward to being part of the progress in the next year.
During my time as deputy president, I was proud to be able to support John Moore's efforts as president around promoting the Chartered status and the 'Choose Chartered' initiative -- talking up the professional side of insurance. We also have an important role to play to coordinate a sector-wide effort to build public trust in insurance. However, we can only do this if we more closely reflect and better understand the needs of a new generation of insurance customers and professionals.
And that is why we need new skills and more diversity in our ranks, and why I've chosen 'New Talent' as the theme to underpin my presidency in the year ahead.
In the next decade, the skills required by professionals in our sector will look very different to today. Attracting a new generation of professionals with strong technological skillsets will be crucial to our success in meeting the future needs of a more diverse and demanding group of customers across the world -- and to ensure the UK insurance sector remains a global leader. I want insurance to be a career of choice for talented individuals -- whatever their background -- and one that provides an environment that is modern, diverse and inclusive. The CII has an important role to play and, together with Sian and her team, I believe we can rival other eminent professions in attracting the world's best talent. But we need to come together as a united profession, with a genuine commitment to addressing the skills shortages that face us.
I look forward to working with Sian and the team during the next year, as we work towards the goals that have been set. Thank you for your support and warm welcome.