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Betsi Cadwaladr Chief Executive Announces Retirement

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board Chief Executive, Jo Whitehead is to retire from the NHS at the end of the year.

Jo has brought forward her retirement plans due to family circumstances and will leave her post on 23 December 2022.

In announcing her retirement, Jo said:

“My decision to retire at this time is personal. The last few months have brought some serious health challenges for my father in law, with consequences for my husband who has had to bring forward his own retirement plans and go to Germany to be with his father. This has caused us to consider how we want to spend our time and has led me to conclude that it is time for me to retire from my Chief Executive role.

“My 37-year career has taken me from Sheffield, Leicester, Bristol, London, Herefordshire, Australia and right back home to North Wales – quite a journey, with each role bringing joy and challenges. I am grateful for the opportunities the NHS in England and Wales have provided to me.

“It has been a great privilege to have been given the opportunity at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and I am proud of the achievements in North Wales which would not have been possible without the support of everyone in the integrated board and NHS Wales. BCUHB is full of the most amazing people and I wish the organisation well.

“This has been an extremely difficult decision for me and is one I have not taken lightly.  I am leaving earlier than I had originally intended but my family is incredibly important to me and must come first.”

Chair of BCUHB, Mark Polin, said:

“Jo’s leadership has been vital in the Health Board’s journey and good progress has been made during her time at BCUHB, including the launch of a BCUHB wide improvement plan, a hugely successful vaccination programme during the COVID-19 pandemic and many developments across services to enhance patient care.

“Her contribution to the health and wellbeing of the people of North Wales is not always apparent given the challenges the Health Board faces but her open and engaging approach has enabled us to push ahead on our transformation agenda. She has focused on empowering staff to make the improvements and her leadership has been highly respected by staff and partners.

“Jo’s retirement is a loss for us but thanks to her leadership, we are in a stronger position to take forward our ambition to be a high performing organisation providing excellent care for the people of North Wales.

“I would like to thank Jo for her dedication to the NHS, to our local communities, and to the people of North Wales.”

Jo joined Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board as Chief Executive in January 2021. She started her NHS career in 1985 as a nursing auxiliary and progressed into general management which led to her first Chief Executive role in 2001. Her experience includes a number of Board level roles in England, Australia and Wales including as a Chief Executive, Deputy Chief Executive, and Executive Director.