HALIFAX – The top executive of Atlantic Canada’s biggest children’s hospital has stepped down amid an expenses controversy.
Tracy Kitch, chief executive officer of Halifax’s IWK Health Centre, quit Wednesday for personal reasons, the chairwoman of the hospital’s board of directors said Thursday.
“She will be leaving the organization to pursue other opportunities. The board has accepted her decision,” Karen Hutt said in an email.
“Since the CEO resigned, accordingly there is no requirement to pay severance under her employment agreement.”
Dr. Krista Jangaard, vice-president of medicine and academic affairs, will become interim CEO.
In a message sent to IWK employees late Wednesday, Hutt and Jangaard said an independent review of the IWK’s financial policies and processes will be completed soon.
“A few months ago the board provided an update indicating that as part of the IWK’s ongoing internal audit program, the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee approved an independent review of the IWK’s financial policies and processes,” the message said. “The committee is concluding its work within the coming week, and in fulfilling our commitment to accountability and transparency, we will be sharing the results of the review and its recommendations.”
Hutt told The Canadian Press Thursday the committee is looking at Kitch’s use of her corporate credit card.
The outgoing CEO came under fire two months ago after CBC News reported she had used a corporate credit card to pay personal expenses.
The executive’s corporate credit card statements reportedly included thousands of dollars charged by the Bay last November, multiple charges from iTunes and Netflix and more than $2,000 for a limousine service.
Kitch joined the IWK in August 2014 and was earning an annual salary of $296,289 at the time of her departure.
Before joining the Halifax hospital, Kitch was the executive vice-president of patient care and chief nursing executive at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.
The Izaak Walton Killam Health Centre, known locally as the IWK, says it provides care for women, children, youth and families from the Maritimes and beyond.
The charitable organization has more than 3,600 employees and an annual operating budget of about $289 million, with the province covering roughly 80 per cent of costs.
In 2016-2017, the hospital recorded 4,635 births, 30,578 emergency visits, 9,243 surgeries and 238,750 outpatient clinic visits.