Tim Smart the current chief executive of BT Global Services UK, the BT division responsible for over £3 billion of NHS IT contracts, is to take over as head of King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

BT is the local service provider to London, responsible for delivering IT upgrades to NHS organisations across the capital under the £12.7 billion NHS IT Programme (NPfIT).

King’s is one of the so-called ‘iSoft seven’ a group of hospital trusts that have elected to stick with their current software rather than take new NPfIT records software, including the Cerner system being offered by BT in London.

Smart, who will take up the new position from October 2008, is said to be the first to move from the private sector directly to a CEO role in an NHS foundation trust.

Michael Parker, Chair of King’s, said the appointment had ben made after an extensive search: “The panel were particularly impressed by Tim’s track record in business with public sector customers and by his understanding of and passion for healthcare and for the NHS. “

NHS Chief Executive David Nicholson said of the appointment: "Tim Smart’s skills and experience will be invaluable as CEO of one of the UK’s biggest hospitals. I am impressed by his firm commitment to the NHS and look forward to working with him to deliver both world class medical research and best patient care at King’s."

Smart’s appointment reverses the trend of London NHS trust chief executives joining BT. In September 2006 Paul White, chief executive of Barts and the London NHS Trust, joined BT as chief executive of its London NHS programme. Last summer Sir Jonathan Michael moved from being chief executive of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust to join BT as deputy managing director, healthcare.

For the past five years, Smart has been responsible for all BT’s business with the UK government and large enterprises in the UK, including the NHS.

Smart said: “King’s is an organisation with an international reputation for innovation and creativity. I have been impressed by what I have seen of the performance culture within the organisation, and I am proud to be appointed to this exciting and important role.”

He added: “I am looking forward to combining my own experience and skills with those of the wider King’s team, and I aim to bring some new perspectives and value to the organisation for the future.”