NHS Executive's departing finance director triumphed over tough times

Colin Reeves' departure after seven years from his post of NHS Executive finance director in the spring is the next step in the changing of the guard at Richmond House, heralded by Sir Alan Langlands' exit in August.

It can have been a far from easy seven years, encompassing several changes of secretary of state, a change of government and of chief executive, not to mention periodic, politically inspired clampdowns on management spending.

But they will end on a high note, with no trust or health authority accounts qualified in the last five years, with the service's funding rosier than at any time for a generation and prospects set fair for financial balance in April for the first time in 10 years.

What's more, Mr Reeves will leave with the loyalty, affection and respect of finance directors up and down the country.