The chief executive of Devon primary care trust has resigned to take up a new post in New Zealand.

Kevin Snee has been chief executive of Devon PCT since 2006. Yesterday he confirmed he has accepted the post of chief executive of Hawkes Bay District Health Board, on New Zealand’s north island.

A PCT spokeswoman said: “It was a difficult decision but the chance to relocate to a beautiful location is a tremendous opportunity for him and his family, with new challenges for them all.”

Dr Snee is expected to leave the PCT in the autumn. The PCT will shortly start recruiting for a replacement.

Dr Snee’s resignation came as it emerged that Hampshire PCT’s chief executive Gareth Cruddace is on extended compassionate leave. The chief executive of Stockport PCT Richard Popplewell is covering the Hampshire post on an interim basis.

Hampshire is the biggest PCT in financial terms with an annual turnover of £1.6bn.