NHS Highland is seeking to recruit its third chief executive in less than two years.
Paul Hawkins, who has held the post on an interim basis since January, is retiring later this year.
He replaced Iain Stewart who was appointed in January 2019 following a bullying scandal at the health board.
NHS Highland board chairman, Professor Boyd Robertson, said efforts will now be made to fill the post permanently.
He said: “Paul has provided excellent leadership to NHS Highland during his period of secondment with us, which coincided with the Covid-19 emergency and all that it entailed.
“He has set in train a development programme and we are now looking for a chief executive to take forward that transformation agenda.”
Highlands and Islands MSP Edward Mountain said of the move: “I am shocked and saddened that this is the third chief executive to depart NHS Highland in as many years when we need stability and long-term leadership to allow us to remobilise, recover and redesign NHS Highland post the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is deeply unhelpful and I look forward to an early meeting with the chair of NHS Highland to discuss the future of the health board.”
Mr Hawkins took over from Iain Stewart, who was chief executive designate at NHS Orkney, but did not take up the role after details emerged he had broken lockdown restrictions to travel to Glasgow.