The Bay of Plenty District Health Board (DHB) has announced Pete Chandler will take the reins as chief executive following an extensive recruitment process.
Chandler is the DHB's current chief operating officer and will assume the chief executive role on August 31. He has previously been the acting chief executive and has more than 30 years' experience in health.
Interim board chairwoman Sharon Shea said the DHB was spoiled for choice with top quality candidates applying for the leadership position.
"The board is really pleased to announce Pete as the new CEO. Having a leader of his quality at the helm with a strong focus on innovation and change management aligns with our commitment to improving equity through whole of system improvement over the next five years.
"It's an important time for the DHB, and the health sector in general as we continue to navigate the impact of Covid-19, and potential changes outlined in the recent Health & Disability System Review."
Originally trained as an operating theatre practitioner in the United Kingdom's National Health Service, Chandler practised clinically for 12 years, specialising in major trauma and cardiothoracic surgery.
After moving to New Zealand in 2011, he worked as the chief operating officer at the Hutt Valley and Wairarapa DHBs before moving to the Bay of Plenty in 2014.
He has a firm personal commitment to achieving health equity for Māori and rural communities and also has a vision for building a globally renowned model of child health and wellbeing services across the Bay of Plenty.
Chandler said it was an honour and a privilege to be asked to take on the role.
"We have a wonderful team of over 3500 people in the DHB and over 6000 people in the wider Bay of Plenty care system who care deeply about the services they provide.
"This is an incredibly exciting time for our DHB, and Covid-19 has shown us that we can undertake positive transformational change. We now have an opportunity to re-invent, re-design and co-create many of our systems and our ways of working, so we have the best possible models of care for our communities.
"It's imperative that we work in partnership with iwi and local communities to create a health system that we will be proud to hand over to the next generation. I'm looking forward to the challenge and opportunity that lies ahead."
While Chandler will take over as chief executive on August 31, he will work closely with interim chief executive Simon Everitt on a transition through to September 25.
The BOPDHB Board also paid tribute to Everitt.
"The board and the community owe a lot of gratitude to Simon who has led the DHB through two crises; the Whakaari/White Island eruption and Covid-19," a board spokesperson said.
"We will support Simon with the new CEO to identify Simon's preferred options moving forward and potential new roles and responsibilities."
Everitt said: "I'd like to join with the board and the chair in congratulating Pete Chandler on his appointment to CEO. We are in excellent hands going forward, and I know we will thrive under Pete's leadership.
"I've really enjoyed my time as the interim CEO for the past nine months. It certainly has not been without its challenges with Whakaari and Covid-19 but both events have exemplified what an amazing team of people we work with across the Bay of Plenty health system.
"I have valued every minute of my time as interim CEO and it's been a real honour to work alongside our 3500 team members, as well as the wider health system, our PHOs, NGOs and community providers. It's been an absolute privilege and an experience I will not forget.
"We have something special here in the Bay of Plenty, where we live, work, and play, and every person connected to the DHB plays an important role towards achieving our vision of Healthy Thriving Communities. I look forward to the next chapter of the Bay of Plenty health system."
BOPDHB Māori Health Rūnanga chairman Pouroto Ngaropo said: "Pete has developed strong Iwi networks amongst our Māori communities - he offers Māori strong clinical leadership and is committed to a Treaty of Waitangi relationship between our iwi and the DHB Board and its executive committee.
"However, the most important and exciting reason why we have supported this appointment is that Pete is going to support and lead the next phase through top-quality clinical care and the operationalising our Māori health model Te Toi Ahorangi.
"I also want to acknowledge our interim CEO Simon Everitt and his leadership, in particular the empathy and focus he showed towards our Māori communities in rural areas during lockdown. For some of those people, it was the first time they'd had care close to their home. Thank you for your dedication and care Simon."