Baroness Dido Harding will step down from her role as head of NHS Improvement in October, health authorities have confirmed.
The Tory peer, who also led the government’s Test and Trace programme until April this year, has held the role since October 2017.
She had applied to become the new chief executive of NHS England following the departure of Sir Simon Stevens last month.
But her appointment was reportedly ruled out by Sajid Javid when he took over as health secretary after Matt Hancock’s resignation in June.
The role was instead handed to Amanda Pritchard, who had served as Stevens’ deputy for the last two years.
Harding came under fierce criticism during her time running the government’s £22bn Test and Trace scheme, which itself has been widely panned.
A report by the Public Accounts Committee in March concluded there was “no clear evidence” that the programme had helped to reduce Covid infections in the UK.
According to the Health Service Journal, which first reported the move, Harding sent a letter to Javid today saying she felt she had been successful in bringing together NHS Improvement with NHS England and that now was the right time to leave.
Before joining the NHS, Harding led British telecoms firm Talktalk for seven years. Prior to this she held senior roles at both Sainsbury’s and Tesco.