Richard Nichols, senior partner at six-partner high street practice Sedgwick Kelly in Watford, has been elected the Lord Mayor of London.

His election by the members of the City's livery companies was unopposed. He will serve a year in office, from his inauguration on 8 November. Lord Mayors must have been previously elected both an alderman and a sheriff of the City and must serve as “senior alderman below the chair” for a year before their turn for the Lord Mayoralty arrives.

The role is purely ceremonial, although Nichols will travel abroad at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to boost UK trade and the markets and services of the City.

Nichols may be the first Lord Mayor of London in the office's 800-year history to work alongside an executive mayor of the whole of London.

The government is planning to introduce legislation next year to create a greater London authority with an elected mayor as executive leader, and there have been suggestions that the existing Lord Mayor should drop his title for the new, widely-elected mayor.