John Adey, who had run the blood service since it was reorganised under the Conservatives five years ago, was dismissed after the new chief, Mike Fogden, expressed a desire for a "fresh start".
Mr Fogden took over from Sir Colin Walker as chairman of the board last month after a damning report on the running of the National Blood Authority (NBA). Sir Colin refused to resign over the criticisms and was removed by Frank Dobson, the Secretary of State for Health.
Mr Adey was an appointment of the NBA board and the decision to remove him was made at a special meeting of its non-executive directors and Mike Fogden on Wednesday.
Sue Cunningham, an NBA spokeswoman, said Mr Fogden felt he needed a chief executive who could bring a "fresh perspective" to the work of the organisation. Immediate steps were being taken to recruit a successor and Mr Fogden would devote more time to the service, supported by Barry Savery, the finance director, until an appointment was made.
Mr Dobson said he applauded any decisions taken in the interests of quickly restoring public confidence in the national blood service and managing its staff. "As I said in April, both the blood donors and blood service staff deserve a new and better lead from the top and under this Government they are getting it."
Dr Evan Harris, the Liberal Democrat MP who has campaigned on the blood service, said both the architect and the pioneer of the Tories' "crazy" reforms had now gone. But the Government still had to undo the damage inflicted on the service which had seen the downgrading of many local blood centres.
The service has faced a series of crises in recent years with staff blaming repeated blood shortages on the reorganisation plans. This week it was announced that patients in London and the South-east with the most common blood type - group O - faced having their surgery cancelled because stocks were so low.
In a letter to staff at the National Blood Service, Mr Fogden wrote: "As the new chairman I felt I needed a new chief executive who could bring a fresh perspective to the work of our organisation."
The unanimous decision to fire Mr Adey was made at a special committee of the non-executive directors yesterday.
Mr Dobson said he applauded any decisions taken in the interest of restoring public confidence in the blood service. "I have great confidence in the management abilities of Mike Fogden," he said. "I applaud any decisions taken under his leadership in the interests of quickly restoring public confidence in the blood service, and managing its hard-working staff.
Steps to recruit a new chief executive are under way.Reuse content