The chief executive of NHS Direct has announced he will step down next year.

Nick Chapman joined NHS Direct in 2009. The last couple of years have been turbulent for the organisation following the announcement that its core service, an 0845 number, was to be decommissioned and replaced by the non-emergency NHS 111 telephone number.

In a statement released this morning Mr Chapman said he would be leaving once the decommissioning of the 0845 service was complete.

The board has appointed finance and performance director Trevor Smith as his replacement. In future the role will carry the title managing director, not chief executive.

Mr Smith has been with the organisation for four years and has been managing director of the “future NHS Direct” on an interim basis since September.

Mr Chapman will leave on 1 July 2013.

He said: “I am immensely proud to have been part of NHS Direct, which has risen to the challenges of the past four years. With the organisation changing so radically, it is the right time for me to leave to pursue new opportunities.

“I am still 100 per cent committed to overseeing the 0845 service in its final months, ensuring that staff are supported into roles with the future NHS Direct, or with other organisations, and that patients continue to receive a high quality and safe service.”

NHS Direct has so far won 11 out of 44 contracts for NHS 111 services and is the biggest provider by population covered. However, the new organisation will have a turnover of about £50m, compared to about £148m at present.

Chair Joanne Shaw said: “Without Nick’s inspired and determined leadership, NHS Direct would not have survived the transition to win 11 local contracts and become the largest single provider of the new NHS 111 service.

“The NHS Direct of the future will be a very different place, and I am convinced that Trevor is the right person to steer the new organisation as it works with commissioners to create value for patients and the NHS.”