Hospital trust begins search to replace sacked chief executive

Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation Trust has appointed global leadership consultancy firm Saxton Bampfylde to search for its new chief executive.


The candidate will fill the role vacated Sir Leonard Fenwick who was sacked for gross misconduct in June.

The job advert will be placed on the company’s website today and the closing date for applicants is 19 January.

Jim Mackey, who has returned as chief executive of the neighbouring Northumbria Healthcare FT after two years leading NHS Improvement, told HSJ in an interview earlier this month that the two trusts should “go into a process of collaboration” similar to the integration happening in Birmingham or Manchester.

Northumbria was one of four trusts granted foundation group leader status in 2016 to run chains of hospitals.

The search for a new chief executive at Newcastle comes after the trust appointed Sir John Burn as its new chair, with Kingsley Smith stepping down at the end of November.

Mr Smith’s tenure was extended after Sir Leonard’s application to be considered as chair last year was branded a “very real concern” by NHSI. No appointment was made.

Sir Leonard was the NHS’s longest serving chief executive before he was dismissed from the outstanding rated FT, which has a turnover of more than £1bn a year.

His role has been filled by medical director Andy Welch and executive director of business and development Louise Robson who will continue to act as interims until a new chief executive is appointed.

Sir Leonard was dismissed after a disciplinary panel found “allegations relating to inappropriate behaviour, use of resources and a range of governance issues were proven”.

The decision – announced in August – came after Sir Leonard attended a two day disciplinary hearing in May. He appealed the original decision to dismiss him but a second panel in July upheld the verdict.

The trust has not said what the inappropriate behaviour, use of resources or governance issues refer to.

The trust said it was required to report concerns to NHS Protect, the counter-fraud and security management service.

HSJ revealed that Sir Leonard faced a disciplinary hearing in May, amid allegations of bullying by a former senior employee.

The accusations came to light in a letter sent to Mr Smith alleging Sir Leonard had:

  • engaged in bullying and abusive behaviour towards an employee in public on multiple occasions;
  • read or “interrogated” staff emails; and
  • made inappropriate comments concerning a member of staff’s daughter and a senior person in the NHS nationally.

HSJ understands Sir Leonard has up to six years to launch a civil case at the High Court against his former trust.

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