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Replacement chosen for NHS’s most respected trust CEO

Published on: 4 May 2022

A mental health trust has appointed an acting chief executive, after its highly regarded CEO left to run an acute provider. 

Dawn Dawson has been named acting CEO for Dorset Healthcare University Foundation Trust, replacing Eugine Yafele.

Mr Yafele, who was ranked HSJ’s top chief executive for 2022, has moved to take up the chief executive role at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston FT.

Like Mr Yafele, Ms Dawson is a nurse by background. According to the trust’s board papers, she was most recently its director of nursing, therapies and quality. 

Her biography on the trust’s website says Ms Dawson has “an extensive clinical background having worked in acute, community and the mental health sector”. 

It adds her academic background includes “psychology, law, and post-compulsory education”. 

Ms Dawson announced her appointment on Twitter, saying: “Absolutely delighted to step into the acting CEO role at Dorset Healthcare… I look forward to meeting and hearing from as many colleagues as possible as we begin the next phase of our journey together.”

Mr Yafele had been with Dorset Healthcare University FT since 2014 and was appointed its CEO in 2018. Under his leadership, the trust’s Care Quality Commission rating was raised to “outstanding” in 2019. As well as being rated HSJ’s top CEO this year, he was included in HSJ’s list of the 50 most influential Black, Asian and minority ethnic people in health in 2021. 

At UHBW, Mr Yafele replaces Robert Woolley, who is retiring after 12 years in the role

Dorset Healthcare University FT has been contacted for comment, including on its timeline for recruiting a substantive replacement for Mr Yafele.