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The Minister thanked Mr Connaghan for his commitment and dedication to the role and wished him the best in his new position on his return to Scotland.
Minister Harris said: “John Connaghan has shown exemplary leadership and I want him to thank him sincerely for occupying the position at a critical time in the health service.”
The position of the Director General has been advertised with applications due to close in early January.
The Minister has asked Deputy Director General Ms Anne O’Connor to occupy the role until the recruitment process concludes in the new year.
Minister Harris said: “I want to thank Anne O’Connor her for her leadership and commitment. She has a track record of improving services for patients and clients and I look forward to working with her in the period ahead.”