Skip to main content

Under-fire trust’s former COO appointed group chief executive

Published on: 18 Jul 2023

The former chief operating officer of a struggling teaching trust has been appointed as its new group chief executive.

Jonathan Brotherton is now substantive group CEO at University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust, which has been the subject of a series of concerns about leadership and culture in recent months and years.

The appointment comes after a recruitment process which lasted several weeks with external candidates understood to have been among those shortlisted.

Dame Yve Buckland, who was appointed permanent chair at a board meeting last month, said in a statement released on Monday evening: “Jonathan, UHB’s interim CEO, was successful in securing the role after a multi-staged process, involving a wide range of external and internal stakeholders, including senior clinical and non-clinical staff, governors and regulators.”

Mr Brotherton joined Heart of England FT as operations director in 2014 and, following HEFT’s merger with UHB, in 2018 he became chief operating officer and later deputy CEO to then-chief David Rosser. 

On his appointment, he said: “I am absolutely delighted to be chief executive of such an amazing organisation. As someone who was born in Birmingham and has worked in the area for a number of years, both clinically and managerially, it is a real privilege and an honour.

“For the past seven months — as interim chief executive — I have sought out the thoughts, opinions and concerns of many people, during what has been a very challenging time for UHB, its people and its patients. There is clearly a lot which needs to happen; we are reliant on the amazing people who work here to deliver that.”

He added: “As chief executive, I will be working hard to make sure we have the kind of culture that allows people to flourish and thrive, to enable us all to do our very best for our patients.”

The news comes after two official reviews into safety, leadership and culture at UHB last year reported their findings earlier this year.

A patient safety review identified an “entrenched” bullying culture, and found the trust’s leadership under Dr Rosser had become “overzealous and coercive”. A follow-up investigation published last month found misogyny and “medical patriarchy” was widespread. A further review is ongoing, and the trust is likely to be subject to ongoing outside scrutiny. 

Four “hospital CEOs” for its four separate main hospital sites are expected to be selected in the coming days, as part of the trust’s move towards a group model.