Interim CEO of Alberta Health Services replaced after one month on the job

EDMONTON – After just one month on the job, Alberta Health Services’ interim CEO has been replaced.

Duncan Campbell will be returning to his previous role as CFO, AHS’ Official Administrator Dr. John Cowell said Saturday.

Campbell was appointed acting CEO and President on October 17, following the surprise resignation of Dr. Chris Eagle.

READ MORE: President, CEO of AHS announces he is stepping down

“We needed to have a way of filling the CEO position. So Duncan Campbell, and thanks to him, left his job… he stepped up to the plate and got us through the first few weeks. But it’s very clear we need him in his current job,” Cowell explained.

Campbell will be replaced by two top executives — Rick Trimp and Brenda Huband.

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“Rick Trimp is going to take and act like a President and CEO for all our province-wide services. So that’s things like cancer care, mental health, addiction, that sort of thing,” Cowell explained. “And Brenda Huband, who has been one of our senior operating leads for the southern part of the province… she’s going to take over all CEO duties for all the other clinical services like hospital-based care and long term care.”

The co-leadership move follows a number of leadership changes, stemming back to June when Health Minister Fred Horne fired the entire AHS board and replaced it with an official administrator.

READ MORE: Alberta Health Minister fires AHS board

In September, following a report on AHS’ structure, the government announced a plan to reduce the number of senior executives from 80 to 10.

Cowell says the latest shake up is a temporary solution, with an international search for a new CEO beginning by the end of November.

But while AHS maintains it is looking for long-term stability within the health care provider, the Alberta NDP says the move reinforces its view that AHS should be eliminated.

“The constant interference, restructuring, changing titles, changing positions, firing boards, hiring executives and then firing executives, has turned Alberta Health Services into a farce,” said NDP Leader Brian Mason.

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“While frontline workers and patients struggle with an overburdened system, this PC government just interferes and rearranges the governance structure. They’ve proven over and over again that they simply can’t be trusted to protect and strengthen public health care.”

Mason believes AHS’ functions should be reintegrated into the Ministry of Health.

“It’s time to put an end to this farce, and eliminate AHS.”

Cowell is adamant patient care will not be affected by the latest move. He says it’s simply “business as usual.”

“Duncan Campbell was willing to step up to the plate, but that was never a long-term solution. That was to get us through a knothole of the fact that our precious CEO had resigned,” he said. “What it really is, is just a senior team and their governor, me, recognizing that we need to be responsible and adaptive in our current circumstance until we get our new CEO.”

Cowell says this solution will be in place for four to six months.

With files from Shannon Greer, Global News.

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