Ciarán Devane is to step down as chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, the charity announced this afternoon.

He plans to continue in his role as a non-executive director at NHS England, a Macmillan spokeswoman told HSJ.

Mr Devane leave the Macmillan at the end of October, after seven years in the post, to become chief executive of the British Council.

The charity’s chair, Julia Palca, said he would be “very sadly missed”.

Ciara´n Devane

Ciarán Devane has been Macmillan chief executive for seven years

She added: “Ciarán’s drive, passion and determination to help us fulfill our ambition to help everyone affected by cancer is [an] inspiration to us all and we are enormously thankful to him.”

Mr Devane said it had been a “huge honour” to lead Macmillan.

He was “particularly proud” of progress the organisation had made “on the survivorship agenda and on the research that identified the nine things cancer patients really want the NHS to do for them”, which he said “underpins everything the charity does”.

He added: “It has been a difficult decision, but the chance to work with the British Council, an organisation I have long admired, was one I could not resist.”

Mr Devane was ranked 37 in the 2013 HSJ100, HSJ’s list of the 100 most influential figures in health policy.