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Trusts forced to rerun joint CEO process after candidates pull out

Published on: 25 Jan 2023

Trusts planning a £1.3bn group leadership model have been forced to re-run the recruitment process for a shared CEO.

Hull University Teaching Hospitals and Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Foundation Trust are looking to merge their executive teams, beginning by appointing a shared chief executive.

But a source told HSJ the organisations have had to restart the appointment process. In a statement, the trusts’ joint chair, Sean Lyons, confirmed that some candidates had withdrawn.

Mr Lyons said: “In November 2022 the boards of both Hull University Teaching Hospitals and Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust agreed to progress the development of a group leadership model for our two organisations. The next step of this process is to appoint a joint group chief executive.

“The joint group chief executive role was advertised nationally with a closing date of 9 January 2023. Unfortunately, since the shortlisting on 12 January 2023, some of the candidates have withdrawn. It is important the appointment to this key role is made through an open and robust recruitment process and, as a result of these withdrawals, we will readvertise the post.

“Until such time as we have appointed to the joint group chief executive role, Chris Long and Peter Reading will continue to lead HUTH and NLAG respectively.”

Mr Reading has worked in NHS CEO roles since 1988 while Mr Long took on his first chief executive role in 2004. It is not clear whether either applied to the group role.

The move to a joint management team attracted some criticism from consultants at NLAG, which is the smaller trust, who claimed the group model would undermine their services on the south bank of the Humber, though the trust has insisted the proposed changes would safeguard services.

Under the plans each trust will retain its own board with “as much decision-making as practicable” done by shared committees. The trusts have said it is not a “takeover” by the larger, or a “headcount reduction exercise”.