The chief executive of the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust is to leave to take on a new role improving the efficiency of British agriculture.

Tom Taylor is departing later this year after four and a half years to become the chief executive of the national Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

Mr Taylor, arrived at the trust in 2005 as its debts hit £10m, and an independent inquiry condemned “fantasy” proposals for savings, but it now hopes to gain foundation trust status.

He said:“When I came in 2005, the trust faced major financial challenges, so I am delighted that we now have an organisation that has been rated as ‘excellent’ for quality of service and is at the point of achieving NHS foundation trust status.

“I am grateful and proud to have worked with so many passionate and committed people in the NHS, striving every day to provide the highest quality services for patients.”

Mr Taylor who spent 18 years in the NHS, following 24 years in energy, said he was now looking forward to working in a different sphere.

“I have lived in rural farming communities for over 20 years so this is an issue close to my heart,” he said.

Trust chairman Dr John Davies said: “Tom joined a troubled trust in August 2005. Under his leadership it has been transformed from a turnaround organisation to a credible NHS Foundation Trust applicant ready to face the new challenges presented by the global economic climate.

“We will all miss his energy and enthusiasm, and on behalf of the board I would like to wish him every success in his new role.”