NHS CIO Christine Connelly has resigned and will leave her post at the end of the month.
Christine Connelly was appointed the first Department of Health CIO in September 2008, having previously worked as CIO at Cadbury Schweppes.
Connelly's role will be filled in the interim by Katie Davis, currently executive director in the Efficiency and Reform Group at the Cabinet Office. Davis will oversee the department's Information Revolution report, due for publication in autumn.
Connelly made the decision following the major structural reorganisation underway at the NHS and the creation of a number of senior posts. "I have been reflecting on whether I would wish to go for one of those roles and decided that I will not," she said.
"I have had a fascinating and challenging time in this role and I have decided that this is the right time to step back and think about what I might do next. I believe that information and technology have the potential to dramatically change the way health services are delivered to patients, and we are already seeing this happen in many parts of the service. I am confident that informatics will have a major role to play in delivering both the quality and efficiency challenge that the NHS faces," Connelly said.
Connelly's resignation follows major criticism of the £11bn NHS National Programme for IT in a recent National Audit Office report that questioned the value for money of the controversial project. In an interview with Computer Weekly last month, Connelly hit back at the criticism from the National Audit Office: "We find it difficult to understand how they can be so clear that there is no value for money," she said.
NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson praised Connelly's work at the department: "She has tackled a very difficult set of issues around the National Programme for IT, and moved them forward. I wish her well in her future career," he said.
Health secretary Andrew Lansley added: "Christine has brought a huge amount of experience, talent and technical knowledge to the National Programme for IT. I wish Christine the best of luck with whatever she chooses to do next."
Connelly's interim replacement, Katie Davis, was formerly executive director of strategy for the Identity and Passport Service. Before that, Davis was director of the government IT profession. In her LinkedIn profile Davis describes herself as, "a strategic leader with a strong delivery track record in both the public and private sectors. Experienced in the development and implementation of complex public sector strategy and policy as well as in the leadership of large-scale programmes of business change."