Six senior executives out as new board shakes up Alberta Health Services

Calgary

Eight days after the appointment of a new board of directors was announced, AHS says that six senior executives are no longer in their roles.

President and CEO among those removed from their roles Jim Brown · CBC News

· Posted: Nov 16, 2023 9:26 PM EST | Last Updated: November 24, 2023

Premier Danielle Smith announces a restructuring of Alberta Health Services during a news conference in Edmonton on Nov. 8. This week, the new AHS board announced six senior executives are no longer in their roles. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press) It didn’t take long for the new leaders at Alberta Health Services to put their stamp on the organization.

Eight days after the appointment of a new board of directors was announced, AHS says that six senior executives are no longer in their roles.

That list includes Mauro Chies, who was just appointed permanent president and CEO in March.

AHS announced that Sean Chilton will be the new acting president and CEO. Chilton had been a vice-president and chief operating officer.

Last week, Premier Danielle Smith announced sweeping changes to dismantle the province’s health-care delivery system, restructuring it into four new service delivery organizations reporting directly to Health Minister Adriana LaGrange.

She appointed Lyle Oberg, a doctor and former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister, to chair the board of AHS, which will continue to operate in a diminished capacity within the new, restructured system.

He said in a statement announcing the executive changes on Thursday that the transition over the next 18 months requires new ideas, voices and leadership.

Two vice-presidents will no longer continue in their roles; Dr. François Bélanger, vice-president of quality and chief medical officer, and Colleen Purdy, vice-president of corporate services and chief financial officer.

Also out are Tina Giesbrecht, the general counsel and corporate secretary, Geoffrey Pradella, the chief strategy officer, and Dean Olmstead, the chief program officer of capital management.

When asked if any of the former senior leaders will remain at AHS in different capacities, a spokesperson emailed CBC News on Friday to say the six individuals are no longer with the organization.

The spokesperson wasn’t able to give specific answers to questions about the estimated cost of severance pay.

“Severance will be disclosed publicly as part of the annual compensation disclosure for 2023,” the spokesperson wrote.

Chies’s contract, which is posted on the AHS website, says that “in consideration of the executive’s 35 years of continuous service with AHS and its predecessors,” Chies would receive a termination payment equal to slightly more than 24 months of his base salary. His 2023 salary, according to the contract, is $583,443.

Lorian Hardcastle, an associate professor of health law at the University of Calgary, said she can’t comment on the specific individuals affected by Thursday’s announcement. 

But she said the news, coming so quickly after last week’s structural changes, adds to the sense that there is a lack of stability in the delivery of health-care services in the province right now.   

“The planned reforms risk adding a great deal of instability to the health-care system, which is only exacerbated by such a significant shakeup to the board’s composition,” Hardcastle said.

Along with the appointment of Chilton, AHS also announced eight members of the executive team. Not included in that list is the name of the new chief medical officer, to replace Bélanger.

Alberta Health Services did not respond to questions from CBC News about whether another chief medical officer will be appointed, or if the position would be changed or eliminated.

With files from Janet French, Jennifer Lee and The Canadian Press

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