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Virgin recruits BUPA chief

By Ian Quinn

A former BUPA hospitals chief has joined the Virgin Healthcare board to help drive its bid to take on services from secondary care at its network of Darzi centres recently acquired from Assura.

Clare Hollingsworth, non-executive director of deputy chair of Assura, has replaced Richard Burrell, Assura chief executive officer on the Virgin board, after he announced his resignation from Assura soon after negotiating the takeover deal.

Virgin became the leading private provider of Darzi centres – with 15 in total – and joint owner of 30 GP companies after its acquisition of Assura Medical Ltd earlier this month.

New board member Ms Hollingsworth is the former chief executive of Spire Healthcare Limited, the Cinven vehicle which acquired BUPA Hospitals in 2007.

She was managing director of BUPA Hospitals from 1999 to 2007 and prior to that was managing director of Caledonian Airways.

Mr Burrell founded Assura Group in October 2003 and led its flotation on the London Stock Exchange and oversaw the sale of a 75.1% stake in its medical arm to Virgin.

Rodney Baker-Bates, chairman of the Assura board of directors, said: 'The Board of Assura wishes to express its gratitude to Richard for his vision, commitment and enthusiasm over the past six years and extend its best wishes to him for the future.'