• Suzanne Tracey announced as chief executive of Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust with immediate effect
  • News follows decision of previous appointee Julie Hartley-Jones not to take up the post
  • Ms Tracey previously worked as trust’s chief financial officer, deputy chief executive and interim chief executive

The Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust has chosen a new chief executive – less than two weeks after the previous appointee declined to take up the post.

The South West acute trust has appointed Suzanne Tracey with immediate effect.

Suzanne tracey

Suzanne tracey 3 x 2

Suzanne Tracey has been chief financial officer, deputy chief executive and acting chief executive

Ms Tracey is Royal Devon and Exeter’s chief financial officer, deputy chief executive and more recently acting chief executive.

She takes up the role after Julie Hartley-Jones – who was announced as chief executive in July and due to start in January – said last week she would not take up her post at the organisation.

There had been local criticism of Ms Hartley-Jones appointment after it emerged that the hospital she previously managed in Australia was forecasting an $80m deficit this year.

The trust board said they had been “informed” by Ms Hartley-Jones that “owing to changed circumstances” she was “not in a position to return to the UK” and would instead “continue to pursue her career in Australia”.

Commenting on Ms Tracey’s appointment, Royal Devon and Exeter chair James Brent said: “Suzanne has been a key member of the trust’s well regarded executive team for almost eight years and has made a significant contribution to the success of the trust during this time.”

“She brings with her extensive NHS experience having worked at a senior level in a number of acute trusts and a commissioning organisation.

“She also has in-depth local knowledge of the trust and the wider health economy and a compelling vision for how she would like the trust to develop over time.”

Ms Tracey said she was “honoured” to be given the role and that it would be a “privilege” to serve patients and staff.

“I know full well that [Royal Devon and Exeter] is a superb organisation that delivers the very best care to the people who need it, largely because we have incredibly committed and compassionate staff who do their utmost for the people in their care,” she said.

“This is a time of profound change in the NHS but I and my fellow board members are fully committed to helping to steer the trust through the challenges we face so that we continue to provide safe, high quality care delivered with courtesy and respect to the communities we serve.”

Ms Tracey takes over as permanent chief executive from Angela Pedder, who left Royal Devon and Exeter this summer after 19 years at the helm to be “lead chief executive” of the local success regime.