Healthscope hires Ballantyne as CEO

Lilly Vitorovich
AAP

Healthscope has appointed former Telstra executive Gordon Ballantyne to lead the private hospital operator's next phase of expansion.

Mr Ballantyne will take over as managing director and chief executive on May 15 from Robert Cooke.

Mr Cooke is leaving after more than six years with Healthscope, during which time he oversaw the company's transition from private-equity ownership to its public listing on the Australian Stock Exchange in July 2014.

Healthscope, which has pathology operations in Australia, Singapore and Malaysia, said Mr Ballantyne brought experience in public and private companies, and highly regulated industries to the role.

Mr Ballantyne said he would be overseeing a period of expansion.

"This is an exciting time for Healthscope with increased hospital capacity coming on line over the next few years, and further opportunities to expand our healthcare services to best serve the communities we support," he said.

Most recently, the 52 year-old oversaw Telstra's domestic retail business, which he helped grow into an $18 billion business, and founded the telecom firm's new health division, Telstra Health.

Prior to Telstra, Mr Ballantyne worked at IT firms Hewlett Packard and Dell, and mobile operator T-Mobile.

Chairman Paula Dwyer said Mr Ballantyne had track record of driving growth, and improving operating performance.

"We are confident that he has the right skill set to continue to deliver on our strategic priorities, and ensure Healthscope plays a key role in easing Australia's healthcare burden through the delivery of high quality, cost effective healthcare services," Ms Dwyer said.

Mr Cook, who took the helm in November 2010, increased the group's operating margin and more than doubled its earnings to $408 million in 2015-16 from $201 million in fiscal 2010-11.

Under Mr Cook's leadership, Healthscope also secured projects such as the Northern Beaches Hospital in Sydney and Gold Coast Private Hospital in Queensland.

Mr Cooke will remain available to assist the company until April 2018.

At 1048 AEST, Healthscope shares were down six cents, or 2.6 per cent, to $2.21.