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Interim CEO named after failure to replace 40-year trust boss

Published on: 22 Mar 2024

An interim CEO has been appointed to take the helm of two Black Country trusts while they re-run a recruitment process.

Caroline Walker will take over at Walsall Healthcare and the Royal Wolverhampton trusts at the start of May and oversee the organisations for six months while a permanent CEO is appointed, the trusts said. A previous search failed to find a replacement.

She replaces David Loughton, who is stepping down after a 40-year stint as an NHS CEO. The trusts previously said the outgoing executive would not postpone his retirement date. 

Previously, Ms Walker was chief executive of North West Anglia Foundation Trust and has worked at trusts in London and the Midlands. She stepped down from her most recent role last spring to take “semi retirement”.

The incoming leader said: “I am delighted to be joining two trusts that have exceptionally positive patient feedback and dedicated staff.

“I am looking forward to meeting teams across the hospital sites, as well as in the community and across primary care, as we work together to continue to deliver high-quality patient care for all.

“I hope Professor Loughton enjoys a well-earned retirement — my commitment is to build on his fantastic legacy.”

Mr Loughton has been Royal Wolverhampton Trust chief since 2004 and has held the same position at Walsall Healthcare Trust since April 2021. He was first a hospital chief in 1986.

Sir David Nicholson, who chairs the two trusts, said: “Caroline has operated at board level for 25 years — with five years as chief executive of a large multi-site organisation — and has a track record of improving patient care.

“She is highly committed to driving improvements to enhance our patients’ experience and her knowledge and enthusiasm will no doubt benefit our teams. We look forward to welcoming and supporting her.”