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Board shake up at NHS England

Published on: 4 Apr 2022

Sir Andrew Morris will become joint deputy chair of NHS England when it takes on the powers of NHS Improvement later this year, while Lord Ara Darzi is leaving the board.

The announcements were included in a Department of Health and Social Care update on plans for the boards of NHSE and NHSI.

If the Health and Social Care Bill is passed in the coming weeks, then NHSI will be abolished and most of its powers pass to NHSE.

The announcement indicated that when this takes place, the non-executive directors of NHSE will include: 

  • Sir Andrew Morris, former Frimley Health Foundation Trust chief, who is currently an NHSI non-executive director and will transfer when it is abolished. At that point, he will be appointed as joint deputy chair, NHSE has said;
  • Wol Kolade who was previously an NHSI NED and has now been appointed to the NHSE board for three years. He works in private equity and has served on several third sector boards, including as chair of the Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation. He will be NHSE joint deputy chair alongside Sir Andrew;
  • Sir Munir Pirmohamed, a top pharmacologist and geneticist, who is on the NHSI board, but previously sat on the NHSE board;
  • Jeremy Townsend, chair of NHSE’s audit and risk assurance committee. He was previously a finance director of Rentokil Initial PLC and Mitchells and Butlers PLC, and also held senior finance positions at J Sainsbury;
  • The incoming NHSE chair Richard Meddings, a former banker;
  • Michael Coupe, former Sainsbury CEO, and Susan Kilsby, a senior businesswoman in retail and banking — both were appointed to the NHSE board for three years from 1 January last year; and
  • Laura Wade-Gery, a former retail chief who is NHS Digital chair and also sits on the NHSE board. Her term as NHSD chair was recently “extended from 1 April 2022 for 12 months or until the disestablishment date for NHS Digital”, which is also due to be abolished with its functions passing to NHSE.

Meanwhile, Lord Ara Darzi will stand down as an NHSE NED after the Health and Care Bill is passed, and NHSI NEDs Lord Patrick Carter and Rakesh Kapoor will also stand down. 

The announcement said: “Remuneration for the non-executive director roles will be at a rate of £7,883 per annum. Jeremy Townsend will continue to receive £13,137 per annum as non-executive director and chair of the audit and risk assurance committee. Oluwole Kolade has confirmed that he does not intend to take the remuneration.”

The governance code on public appointments requires that appointees’ political activity is made public. The announcement said: “Sir Andrew Morris, Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, Jeremy Townsend, Rakesh Kapoor and Lord Ara Darzi have not declared any political activity.

“Lord Carter is a Labour peer and Lord Darzi is an independent [peer]… Oluwole Kolade has made a donation to the Conservative Party. Lord Carter has made a donation to the Labour Party.”

Update: This story was updated at 13:10 on 4 April to reflect that Wol Kolade will be joint deputy chair alongside Sir Andrew Morris.