David Flory will step down as the chief executive of the NHS Trust Development Authority in May, HSJ can reveal.

Mr Flory will retire on 7 May after running the organisation responsible for managing NHS trusts since it was founded in June 2012.

Finance director Bob Alexander will be interim chief executive until a new appointment is made. Elizabeth O’Mahony will be interim finance director in Mr Alexander’s absence.

David Flory

David Flory will retire on 7 May

The TDA is responsible for 90 organisations and is charged with making sure they are in a fit state to be licensed as foundation trusts by Monitor.

The authority has a budget of £55.5m and was granted a £22m funding boost in April last year to recognise its increasing focus on performance management. It now employs approximately 300 staff.

There have been persistent rumours about merging the TDA with Monitor, which is responsible for regulating foundation trusts.

Liberal Democrat care minister Norman Lamb became the first minister to call for the merger of the two bodies in an interview with HSJ this week.

Mr Flory was deputy NHS chief executive under Sir David Nicholson and director general of NHS finance from 2007 until taking up the top job at the TDA.

The news of Mr Flory’s departure comes a day after the announcement of the departure of Department of Health finance chief Richard Douglas - another prominent figure from Sir David’s era. Mr Douglas will retire at the end of May.

In a statement, Mr Flory said: “It’s been a great privilege to lead the TDA over the last few years – we have a fantastic team who are wholly focussed on supporting NHS trusts to deliver in an environment that is pretty challenging for providers.

“Having created the TDA, and led it through a significant expansion, I think the time is now right to give someone else the opportunity to lead the organisation in the future.”

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “I have immensely valued David’s wise counsel, advice and judgement, and in particular his ability to find solutions to problems that often appear intractable. But most of all I have come to admire the values that lie underneath that ability: a real commitment to doing the right thing for patients and safer, more compassionate care. He will be greatly missed but leaves the TDA in excellent shape.”

TDA chair Sir Peter Carr said: “Since the inception of the TDA, David has worked tirelessly to support the sector to be as good as it can be.

“The model that David has designed for the TDA – based on working closely with each and every NHS trust, and supporting them to deliver for their patients today as well as plan for a more sustainable future – hasn’t just served the sector well over the last two years but will continue to be so important well into the future.”

NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said: “I am very pleased that under [David Flory’s] leadership the foundation trust pipeline is once again in full flow; we have seen nine authorisations since David set up the TDA in June 2012.

“On a personal basis, [NHS Providers chair] Gill [Morgan] and I have valued David’s wisdom and his willingness to listen to messages that may have been uncomfortable to hear. We also welcome his understanding of the important role that an organisation like ours, as the representative voice of NHS providers, can play and the value it can bring to the NHS.”