A hospital trust is on its third chair in nine days after an interim chairman appointed by the NHS Trust Development Authority resigned three days into the job.

The Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust’s former chair Martin Watts resigned on 19 June and his interim successor Mike Higgins resigned two days after being appointed on 25 June.

On 28 June two of the trust’s non-executive directors, Sir Roger Boyle and Sue Hall, also resigned.

On the same day the TDA appointed former Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust chair Angela Ballati to the interim chair’s position.

Mr Watts resigned before a referral was made to the TDA’s appointments committee regarding two complaints under the trust’s dignity at work policy.

The TDA said an investigation into complaints from two separate members of staff had concluded Mr Watts had breached the policy.

Mr Watts has subsequently told local media his resignation was “not an admission of guilt” and that he would “clear [his] name through the courts and prove that this [investigation] is totally flawed”.

He had been chair since 2009.

In a statement the trust refuted Mr Higgins’ suggestion that he had been left with no choice but to resign after “strong resistance” from the hospital’s executive in response to his requests for more detail about Mr Watts’ resignation.

Sir Roger, former national lead for cardiac care, told the BBC he was leaving because “relationships between executive and non-executive functions have now been damaged beyond repair in this particular organisation”.

Ms Hall said she could “no longer fulfil the essential oversight and assurance role” as a non-executive director.