PORTLAND District Health is looking for a new chief executive officer after John O’Neill announced he will be retiring at the end of this year.
Mr O’Neill has been at PDH since July 2007, after being appointed interim CEO. He was given the permanent role at the end of that year.
Recently he has been absent for a period of sick leave, before returning last month. During this time PDH director of corporate services Ros Jones has stepped up as acting CEO, and she will continue in this role until Mr O’Neill finishes on December 31.
Mr O’Neill, 65, said he had always planned to retire at the end of his five-year contract.
He is now working on a part-time basis and said he would continue to support the board and Ms Jones for the rest of the year.
“I think it is in the best interests of PDH for Ros to continue as acting CEO,” he said.
PDH board chairman Mike Noske said on Wednesday Mr O’Neill will act as an assistant to the acting CEO.
“As well as providing a very comprehensive hand over to the incoming CEO, John will be working on a number of projects and tying up some loose ends,” Mr Noske said.
He said the turnaround in the hospital’s fortunes over recent years was largely due to Mr O’Neill’s expertise.
“PDH is certainly in a better financial position, but it’s not just about the financial side of things,” Mr Noske said.
“In terms of the delivery of health services, it is vastly improved.”
Shortly after Mr O’Neill was appointed CEO, PDH reported an operating loss of around $3 million. He was head of the service during a time when it made some unpopular decisions including staff redundancies and the closure of Sea View House.
Read more in Friday’s edition of the Portland Observer.