The chair of two Sussex acute trusts is to retire in May.

Mike Viggers has been chair of Western Sussex Hospitals Foundation Trust since 2011 and last year also took on the role at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust as part of a shared leadership arrangement. Western Sussex FT chief executive Marianne Griffiths became chief executive of Brighton and Sussex at the same time.

Mr Viggers said: “The decision to retire has been the most difficult of my working life. I have spent seven wonderful years with such outstanding people at both Western Sussex and BSUH. Witnessing the dedication staff in our hospitals show to their patients, day in and day out, has been a truly humbling experience and I thank them all for that incredible commitment.

“However, at the age of 65, I feel the time is right to spend more time with my family and grandchildren, and allow another the privilege of chairing these two great organisations and helping them continue improving care for patients.”

Ms Griffiths said: “We couldn’t have wished for a better and more dedicated chair than Mike, and we will all miss him as a colleague, a supporter and a friend. He will be a hard act to follow. We managed to persuade him to stay on beyond his original term once and I’m only sorry that we haven’t been able to do so again.”

A successor to Mr Viggers, who was deputy chair of Sussex Partnership Trust before his appointment to Western Sussex, is expected to be announced soon.