Dr. Verna Yiu steps down as President and CEO of Alberta Health Services

Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services, is stepping down less than a year after receiving a two-year contract extension.

“The Alberta Health Services Board of Directors today announced the departure of Dr. Verna Yiu and the launch of a search process for a new President and CEO as the health system moving on to pandemic recovery and renewal,” AHS said in a press release Monday.

“We are very grateful for Dr. Yiu’s tireless leadership during the worst days of the pandemic, and thank her for her years of dedicated service and commitment to AHS and Albertans,” said Board Chair, Gregory Turnbull, in the press release.

“We have planned an orderly transition.”

Yiu was quoted in the press release as saying she had the “extraordinary privilege” of leading AHS for more than six years.

“I want to thank all of the staff, physicians and volunteers for their unwavering care of Albertans and their ability to put patients and families first, especially as we navigated the past two years of the pandemic,” said she declared.

AHS is responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for Albertans.

Yiu’s public profile had increased during the pandemic. She often appeared alongside Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, at press conferences updating Albertans about COVID-19 and its impact on the health care system.

In May 2021, the AHS board announced that they had extended Yiu’s contract for two years starting June 2, 2021 with an annual salary of over $573,000.

At the time, then-board chairman David Weyant said he was very happy for Yiu to continue in the role.

“Over the past five years, she has done an excellent job of providing stability for AHS when it needed it most and provided tremendous support to all who work in healthcare,” Weyant said in a press release dated May 4, 2021.

“She tirelessly leads this organization through a global pandemic with grace and resilience. We are grateful for Dr. Yiu’s commitment to Alberta Health Services and to all Albertans.

Yiu was initially hired as interim president and CEO in January 2016, followed by a five-year term beginning in June 2016.

Prior to that, she was vice president, quality, and chief medical officer at AHS.

She is also a pediatric nephrologist and professor of pediatrics in the faculty of medicine and dentistry at the University of Alberta.

AHS said Mauro Chies, vice president of Cancer Care Alberta and Clinical Support Services, will serve as interim CEO while the board searches for a new president and CEO.