A NEW chief executive of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) has been appointed.

Carol Shillabeer has been in the post as interim chief executive since May 2023. She will formally take on the substantive early in the New Year. 

The appointment, which comes with a salary of around £225,000, will provide continuity of leadership. The health board said that Ms Shillabeer will support the new board dynamic to work towards bringing the health board out of special measures and help develop and deliver "ambitious plans" for the future. 

BCUHB has been without a formal chief executive for nearly a year. The last leader was Jo Whitehead.

Mrs Whitehead brought forward her retirement plans due to family circumstances and left her post on December 23, 2022.

Ms Shillabeer said: “I am delighted and honoured to have been appointed as the BCUHB. In the short time I have already been here I have seen a strong commitment from colleagues and partners alike to make improvements and give the people of North Wales the services they expect and deserve. 

“There has been a lot of change here in recent years and I am confident we will build the right leadership and culture to provide the stability and confidence we need to take the organisation in the right direction. 

“I know we face some significant challenges and I am committed to working collectively with staff, partners and communities to help us overcome them together as we move forward. 

“It is my job, with the board, to make sure there are strong foundations for the future and we have clear ambitions to do just that. I am looking forward to being able to make a real difference for our patients and our staff, who all have an important part to play in that future of our NHS in North Wales.” 

Dyfed Edwards, chair of BCUHB, said: “I am really pleased that Carol has chosen to take on the role as our chief executive and welcome her to the health board on a permanent basis.  

“I have had the opportunity to work with Carol since May and believe her strong track record of leadership, organisational development and partnership working make her the right person to get this health board where it needs to be. 

“Carol has already made a significant impact since joining us on an interim basis and this appointment provides us with the stability we need to continue delivering improvements for our communities, staff and partners.” 

Ms Shillabeer leaves her current post as Chief Executive of Powys Teaching Health Board in Powys, which she took on in March 2015 having joined the health board as executive director of Nursing in 2009.

She is a registered nurse with a background in senior clinical and managerial posts in women and children’s services, mental health and general medicine.


Ms Shillabeer also has an extensive background in partnership working and organisational development, and is said to be committed to working with staff, partners and communities to shape and deliver better outcomes.  

Ms Shillabeer was formerly the Wales Member and Vice Chair of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the UKs regulator for nursing and midwifery. She was Chair of the Wales Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, and Chair of the Government sponsored Together for Children and Young People Programme.

Ms Shillabeer is currently the lead CEO in NHS Wales for Mental Health, Women’s Health, and until recently Community and Complex Care. Ms Shillabeer has an MSc in Health Service Management from Cardiff University and is a former Florence Nightingale Foundation Leadership Scholar. 

BCUHB paused hiring a new chief executive earlier this year.

Despite a massive salary of £225,000 being put on the table, the health board were unable to fill the role. 

In June, the BCUHB commented that a "further intensive search" would take place in the near future.