ALBURY Wodonga Health chief executive officer Sue O'Neill has quit to take up the same position at St Vincent's public hospital in Melbourne.
Ms O'Neill's departure less than two years into her time with AWH was announced to staff on Monday.
She was recruited to AWH from Cabrini Health and returns to Melbourne in charge of 15 sites including St Vincent's 780-bed hospital.
Ms O'Neill began at AWH in August last year and played a major role in the cross-border health organisation recording its first profit since the merger of the Albury and Wodonga hospitals in 2009.
"It has come out of the blue, but I feel comfortable that I will be able to leave and there will be enough momentum to keep things going forward," she said.
"We've got a strategic plan in place that the board is really clear about it.
"I'm really proud of the outcomes we've been able to achieve in my time here.
"Going from 58 per cent to 93 per cent in performance improvement, no one could ask for better than that really."
Ms O'Neill was appointed on an initial five-year contract as the replacement for inaugural AWH chief executive officer Stuart Spring.
She will finish up on December 11 and begin at St Vincent's in February.
AWH chairman Lou Lieberman said the search for her replacement would begin shortly.
He hoped the turnaround achieved by AWH would make the position attractive to potential applicants.
"We wish to congratulate her on this major appointment and are pleased to see a member of our team at AWH achieving this success and recognition in her career," he said.
“We wish her well and look forward to continuing our long association with St Vincent’s under Sue’s leadership.
"AWH is confident that suitably experienced people will be interested in seeking appointment as our new ceo.”
AWH's budget has grown from a $130 million to $240 million since its inception.