Published: 22/04/2002, Volume II4, No. 5902 Page 7

The chief executive of the Institute of Healthcare Management has stepped down - after just one year in the job.

The IHM said the decision not to renew Maurice Cheng's oneyear contract, due to expire next month, was 'mutual'.Mr Cheng is on holiday leave until his contract formally expires.

Mr Cheng joined the IHM from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, and had no experience of healthcare. At the time, the IHM said his 'strong background in marketing' meant Mr Cheng was 'the right person to take the institute forward'.

The appointment was seen as an acknowledgement that the organisation needed to focus on expanding membership levels.

IHM vice-chair Phil Milligan said: 'It was always intended there would be a review of this position to see where we were as an institute.' He said the fixed-term 12month contract was an acknowledgement that the appointment of someone 'without a health background' was a 'very brave step' at the time.

The IHM has been promising to expand its membership since it was created in 1999, with around 8,500 members. Latest figures are hovering around 9,000.

In a statement, Mr Cheng said he believed the IHM 'is now set fair to realise its ambitious development plans'. Deputy chief executive Rosey Foster has been made acting chief executive until a substantive appointment is made.

NHS Confederation policy director Nigel Edwards said it was vital that the IHM appointed a strong successor. He said there was room for both the IHM, which represents managers, and the confederation, which represents management.