David Highton took up the position at the end of June following the charity’s annual general meeting, taking over from Sarah Phillips, who had served two terms, or six years.
David is also Chair of the Trust Board at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, a position he has held since May 2017.
He was previously Ministerial Advisor to the Minister of Public Health in Qatar from 2016 and also Executive Director of Corporate Development at Hamad Medical Corporation, the main public hospital provider in Qatar, for six years.
Prior to moving to Qatar, David worked in the independent health sector, including being Director of his own consulting company and heading up business development for an acute home healthcare provider.
David was an NHS Chief Executive from 1991 to 2003, including the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Trust and the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust, where he was instrumental in the creation of a new dedicated children’s hospital.
Originally a chartered accountant, David worked in publishing, property services, the brewing industry, an industrial starches business and in the City, before joining the NHS as a Finance Director in 1990.
David, 64, who is married and has a grown up family, has strong links with Kent, having spent his childhood in Meopham and Sittingbourne. He currently lives in Whistable. Outside of work David is a Vice President (and previously Chairman and President) of Sittingbourne Rugby Club.
He said: “I have had a lot to do with children's health care in a hospital setting, particularly in Chelsea and in Oxford and I believe the work of Demelza is very important for the children and families which we serve.
“The charity has a very clear strategy to deliver more care in community settings and to increase the number of children for whom we provide care - I want to focus on enabling that strategy to be implemented over the next three years.”