Jane Collins, chief executive of Marie Curie, will step down in spring 2019 after six and a half years in the role, the charity announced yesterday.
Collins told staff at the palliative care charity that the time was right for her to leave, and in a statement to Third Sector the charity said she had always intended to leave after five years.
She joined the charity in September 2012, having previously been chief executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the chief executive of the GOSH Children’s Charity simultaneously for 11 years. She originally trained as a paediatric neurologist.
A Marie Curie spokesman said: "Dr Collins had always intended to be at Marie Curie for five years. She has stayed longer to make sure the charity is in the best possible position.
"She has worked full time since she qualified and, before she retires, she wants to have time to concentrate on some specific areas of interest part time."
Collins is also a trustee of the health charity the King’s Fund and co-chair of the campaigning organisation the Ambitions in End of Life Care Group. She intended to focus on roles such as these, the statement said.
In a message to Marie Curie staff, Collins said: "During my time at Marie Curie I have been impressed and humbled by the incredible work that you do. I am also very proud of our progress."
She pointed to the charity’s rebrand, the introduction of new information and support services and "significant improvements" to the quality and safety of the charity’s care as examples of the charity’s progress.
"We have directly supported more people and changed the lives of even more by influencing governments and health and social care decision-makers on the importance of quality end-of-life care," she said.
"Thanks to the incredible work of our fundraising teams, we have also managed to get out of deficit.
"I am confident that we are in a great place and now is the right time for me to step down."
Vindi Banga, the charity’s chair, said Collins would "leave Marie Curie significantly stronger both operationally and financially, and having broadened its support beyond cancer patients to those with other ailments as well".