Waikato District Health Board chief executive Craig Climo says he is close to his "use-by" date and has resigned from the organisation.
Mr Climo, who has been in the board's top job since 2007, told yesterday's meeting of the health board he felt the time was right for him to go.
He will leave next year.
"I've been a CEO in DHBs and its predecessors for more than 16 years and I believe that I am close to my use-by date in the role," Mr Climo said in a statement released by the health board yesterday.
"However there is nothing diminished in my belief in what we are trying to achieve and the priorities and my great regard for the people who work in the health sector.
"I don't know what I will do next. I'm yet to finalise the end date but it will likely be mid-year. I don't want it to be a distraction as there is still a lot to do here."
Mr Climo was not available last night to return Times' calls for more information on why he was departing.
Communications director Mary Anne Gill said he had "pretty much said all he wants to say" in the press release, which had been posted on the health board's website around the time yesterday's meeting began.
"He does not want any fuss. To be honest it has come as a bit of a bombshell to our staff. Everyone was very surprised. I can tell from the reactions I have had he is very well liked."
If Mr Climo does leave around the middle of next year, it would coincide with the completion of the health board's $500 million rebuilding of Waikato Hospital, Mrs Gill said.
"I can't speak for him, but that is the sort of time you would want to leave. It has been the biggest building project in the country for the whole time it has been going on.
"He will be leaving a big space to fill. It's the biggest business in the Waikato. There are more jobs here than anywhere else."
Prior to his arrival at the health board, Mr Climo was chief executive of South Canterbury DHB/Health South Canterbury from 1997 to 2007. He has held several other management roles in the sector at regional and national levels.
Information released to the Waikato Times in March last year put Mr Climo's salary at between $401,000 and $450,000 per year - the same wage bracket as Prime Minister John Key.
- Waikato Times