One of the NHS’s most prominent chief executives is leaving to take up a job in Australia.

Gareth Goodier, who has led Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust for nearly six years, will leave in June to run Melbourne Health.

Dr Goodier was the top trust chief executive in last year’s HSJ100 and was instrumental in setting up the ‘Shelford Group’ which represents the top teaching trusts. He has warned of the impact of payment by results on teaching hospitals and that they could potentially be forced into deficit.

Dr Goodier trained in Australia and his children live there. He said: “The right job came up and I couldn’t miss the opportunity to return to my family and lifelong friends in Australia.

“Working at CUH has been the pinnacle of my career and I will forever be proud to be associated with such a great place.”

Trust chairman Mary Archer said: “We are very sad to see Gareth go but can understand his wish to return to his adopted homeland of Australia. Under his strong leadership Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie are now considered among the best hospitals in the country.

“With his background as a doctor, Gareth made sure our focus was always on clinical excellence and providing our patients with consistently high quality, safe and kind care.”

Dr Goodier’s departure comes at a time of change for the trust with Dr Archer herself stepping down later this year. Jane Ramsey has been appointed as the new chair and is expected to take up the post in October.

The trust said the process of recruiting a new chief executive will start immediately but an interim is likely to fill the position for some months.