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Interim chief executive for Waikato DHB appointed

Derek Wright Interim Chief Executive

Waikato DHB is pleased to announce that Derek Wright has been appointed to the post of interim chief executive for the DHB with immediate effect.

Mr Wright, who currently holds the position of the DHB’s executive director Mental Health and Addictions Services, replaces Dr Nigel Murray who resigned on 5 October.

Mr Wright has worked for the DHB since February 2016. He has many years of experience in the mental health sector in the UK, NZ and Australia including general manager Mental Health Services with Waitemata DHB and as a director of Mental Health Operations in South Australia.  He also has experience in managing general health services. He was the general manager for North Shore Hospital at Waitemata DHB for four years and during his time in South Australia he spent time as the acting executive director of Operations, in this role he had responsibility for all the general hospitals in South Australia.

Waikato DHB chair Bob Simcock said “The board has observed Derek’s successful leadership of our mental health services over the last couple of years and in particular how well he has worked with our clinical leaders which will be critical for us going forward. The board was unanimous in their endorsement of Derek for this role.”

“I believe our DHB can be a high performing one, and we are already doing a lot of really good work that can often be overshadowed. The board expects the interim chief executive to play an active role in shaping the DHB’s future. This is not a caretaker role. Derek has the board’s support to make any changes needed to ensure we are delivering high quality services to the people of the Waikato and improving the health of our population.

“I’d like to thank chief of staff Neville Hablous for acting in the role through difficult times, until an interim chief executive could be appointed. He indicated he did not want the interim role but I look forward to continue to work with him at the DHB.

Derek Wright said: “I am very pleased to take up this challenge. We have some very hard working, committed staff in this organisation and I hope to bring their front line expertise into decision making and improve our communication and engagement with our workforce and our community.”

Mr Simcock said the recruitment of the permanent chief executive would start immediately and would involve full engagement with staff.

“We want to take our time to make a good appointment and want to talk to staff about the qualities they want to see in their new chief executive.”

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