NHS Improvement has put out an advert to recruit a leader with the “resilience and strength of character” to take over as its chief executive when Jim Mackey leaves later this year.

The advert, published today, said it was “manifestly not a role for the fainthearted” and candidates needed an “unblemished record”.

Jim Mackey

Source: Neil O’Connor

Jim Mackey will leave NHS Improvement in November

Mr Mackey is stepping down from the role at the end of November and returning to lead Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust, after two years at NHSI.

The regulator has appointed Russell Reynold Associates to lead the hunt for its new chief executive.

The advert said the new leader will need to “make difficult decisions” under “significant” scrutiny.

It added: “Manifestly not a role for the fainthearted, the chief executive of NHSI will need to co-pilot the NHS through a challenging programme of cost reduction and productivity improvement, balanced against the need to improve service quality and patient safety, whilst also championing sustainability and transformation partnerships.

“The role requires an individual of proven integrity, who has the track record to command the confidence and trust of NHS staff, other national health organisations, the Department of Health and government.

“The chief executive will need to be a leader with an unblemished record, deep experience in, and understanding of, the NHS, together with drive, energy and ambition to leave behind an unparalleled legacy.

“Communication skills and the ability to manage a highly complex stakeholder landscape in a collaborative and galvanising manner will be vital characteristics for the successful candidate.”

The advert emphasises the importance of substantial health sector leadership experience.

The ideal candidate will demonstrate:

  • a “substantial track record of leadership gained in an NHS context”;
  • experience of “stakeholder management” in a political environment;
  • “some experience of operating on a national scale”;
  • “a reputation for delivering excellence in patient care, with an accent on innovation, delivered in a climate of financial probity”; and
  • “first class” communication skills.

It said the chief executive will be directly accountable to the regulator’s chair and expected to work to the plans set out in the Five Year Forward View.

It lists their key responsibilities as:

  • strategic and operational leadership to the executive team at NHSI;
  • acting as the external face of NHSI and the NHS;
  • overall responsibility for reviewing the performance of all NHS trusts in England; and
  • acting as a liaison point with a range of stakeholders, including ministers, the DH, NHS England and the Care Quality Commission.

The remuneration package is described as “competitive” but the advert does not give a salary estimate.

The regulator announced in March that its chair Ed Smith was retiring in July, a year early, “to allow a new chair to be appointed in time to lead the search for a successor chief executive”.

Former Department of Health finance director Richard Douglas was appointed as interim chair last month.

His appointment started on 21 July and the DH said this will last until 31 December or until “a new chair is appointed”.

Read more about the role at HSJ Jobs.