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

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 provincewide health-care provider, reducing it to one of 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 run the AHS board.

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.

It is unclear if any of the former senior leaders will still be employed by AHS.

An AHS spokesperson wasn’t able to answer questions about the employment status of any of the people no longer in the senior executives roles, or about the estimated cost of severance pay for those no longer employed by AHS.

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.

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