Care Quality Commission chief executive David Behan is replacing his entire entire executive director team, including the hiring of a “director of change” who was overseeing the introduction of universal credits, HSJ has learned.

Finance director John Lappin and communications director Jill Finney both announced their resignation earlier this year. A third executive – director of governance and legal services Louise Guss - is due to leave next month, HSJ understands. Ms Guss had been leading the legal team at CQC and its predecessor social care organisations since 2002.

A CQC spokesman said the remaining three executives who were in post when Mr Behan took over as chief executive last summer would no longer be part of the executive team. They are director of operations Amanda Sherlock, director of human resources Allison Beal and director of regulatory development Philip King. The spokesman declined to comment further on those individuals’ plans.

The future executive team will be made up of Mr Behan, director of strategy Paul Bate, a director of corporate services who is currently being recruited, the new chief inspectors of hospitals and social care and Hilary Reynolds, who has recently been appointed as director of change.

Ms Reynolds will join the CQC next week on a two-year secondment from the Department for Work and Pensions where she has held senior positions responsible for delivering change. Between November 2012 and March this year she was project director for the introduction of the government’s flagship universal credit policy, which is replacing the existing benefits system.

Mr Bate, previously 10 Downing Street health adviser, was appointed in February.

The application period for the chief inspector of hospitals closed today but recruitment has yet to begin for a chief inspector of social care.

The overhaul is part of wider changes to the regulator’s work which will see the introduction of specialist inspectors for health and social care and a more targeted, risk-based approach to inspections.

The CQC is also recruiting non-executives after a performance and capability review by the Department of Health recommended the regulator strengthen its board capacity. Two non-executives – Deirdre Kelly and Martin Marshall – stood down last year while Kay Sheldon is due to leave later this year, when her term comes to an end.

A spokesman for the CQC said: “CQC is restructuring its senior management team as it rolls out its plans to become a more effective regulator.

“Together with a strengthening of the board under new chairman David Prior, the changes will enable CQC to deliver its strategy for the next three years and make sure that health and care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high quality care.”