A new chairman is to take over the helm of the hospital trust which manages Wharfedale Hospital in Otley.

Linda Pollard is to take on the role of chairman of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust from tomorrow, succeeding Mike Collier, who announced his retirement in November.

The hospital trust is one of the largest in the NHS, with a budget of almost £1 billion a year, and around 14,000 staff treating well over a million patients a year from the Yorkshire region and beyond.

Mrs Pollard has a wide experience of leadership in the local NHS, and joins the Trust from her role as cluster chairman of NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds, having been chairman of NHS Leeds since early 2009.

She is also a former chairman of West Yorkshire Strategic Health Authority, Bradford District Care Trust, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, former regional chairman of the Learning and Skills Council and deputy chairman of Yorkshire Forward. She also has considerable private sector experience as an entrepreneur, having started her first business at the age of 23.

At Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Linda’s role will be to provide strong leadership of the board and work with the chief executive to ensure effective management of the organisation at a time of change for the NHS nationally and for the Trust as it continues its drive towards Foundation Trust status.

Mrs Pollard said: “I am delighted to be taking up this new and challenging role and am looking forward to working to develop the strong potential of the nationally-renowned teaching hospitals we have in Leeds.

“I intend to ensure the strong partnership working from my time at NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds carries across into relationships between the Trust, clinical commissioning groups and local authorities.”

Maggie Boyle, chief executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Linda has an extremely strong track record of experience in the local NHS and the wider public and private sector which will be a tremendous asset to our organisation.

“I am looking forward to welcoming Linda to the Trust and am sure she will be well placed to continue the progress which has been made by our hospitals in recent times to maintain, develop and improve services for the patients who depend on us.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Mike Collier, who has served the Trust well as an extremely able chairman for the past four years and has made a huge contribution to our hospitals during this time. We wish him well for a long and happy retirement.”