The chair of a troubled acute provider in London has resigned after regulators said a “change in board leadership is needed”.

John Bacon had been in the post at Barts Health Trust, which was placed in financial special measures in July, for 15 months.

After the first five months of 2016-17, the trust reported a deficit of £73m, which was almost £39m behind its plan.

About £16m of the adverse variance was due to the loss of sustainability and transformation funding, which is only offered to trusts that meet their financial targets.

NHS Improvement announced his departure as part of an update on the financial special measures regime this afternoon, saying: “NHS Improvement is grateful to him for taking on such a challenging role over the past 15 months, and for his wider contribution to the NHS.

“However, it has been decided that a change in board leadership is needed to drive further change at the pace required.

“NHS Improvement will be working with the trust to identify a suitable replacement.”

The regulator said it is confident that, under the leadership of the chief executive and executive team, “the trust can operate more efficiently and deliver high quality care to all patients”.

Chief executive Alwen Williams, who joined in June 2015, said: “John’s experience has been invaluable in leading our journey of improvement.

“Under his stewardship we have put in place a new organisational structure to help give more hands on leadership at each of our hospitals, we’ve implemented an ambitious plan to improve care for all of our patients and developed a recovery plan to radically improve our financial position.

“On behalf of the trust board, I would like to thank John for the significant contribution he has made to our hospitals and to the NHS over many years and to wish him all the very best for the future.”

Mr Bacon is also chair of Community Health Partnerships, an independent company wholly owned by the Department of Health. He was previously chair of Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust.

More trusts put into financial special measures