Tim Smart has been appointed by regulators as the new chair of troubled Southern Health Foundation Trust.

NHS Improvement formally notified the embattled trust on Friday that it intended to appoint Mr Smart, the former chief executive of King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust, following the resignation of Mike Petter yesterday.

The legal powers being used by NHS Improvement require the trust to be given a chance to respond to the proposed move, but Mr Smart’s appointment is expected to be confirmed next week.

Mr Petter resigned yesterday on the eve of the publication of a damning Care Quality Commission inspection report, which raised “serious concerns” about the safety of patients at Southern Health.

The trust has been under intense pressure since the publication in December of a report by the audit firm Mazars, which highlighted failures at the trust to investigate and learn from patient deaths.

Jim Mackey, NHS Improvement’s chief executive, said: “It is clear that dramatic change is needed urgently at Southern Health.

“Our action today in proposing the appointment of Tim Smart – a very experienced NHS leader – at the top of the organisation will speed up this improvement.

“Tim’s appointment, along with other action we’ve already taken, will support this trust to provide the quality of care that people using its services expect.”

Mr Smart will join Alan Yates, who was appointed as improvement director at the trust earlier this year.

Mr Yates had previously been the chief executive of Stockport Healthcare Trust and Mersey Care Trust.