Ontario's embattled air ambulance service has scooped up the province's chief coroner to be its new president and CEO.

The board of directors of Ornge issued a statement Wednesday saying Dr. Andrew McCallum is a "proven leader with extensive knowledge of the province."

McCallum was appointed chief coroner in 2008 and is also a specialist in emergency medicine who has trained as a flight surgeon in the Canadian Forces.

Ron McKerlie has been interim president and CEO since early this year and McCallum will start his new position on Jan. 21.

According to Ornge's website, the salary of the chief executive officer is capped at $418,000.

The issue of executive salaries has been a sensitive one for Ornge, which is trying to rebuild the public's trust after a year of scandals that included ex-CEO Chris Mazza's $1.4-million compensation package.

McCallum said in a statement that he is "thrilled" with the opportunity.

"I look forward to working to ensure that Ontarians receive the timely and appropriate medical care they need when they are being airlifted or transported to hospital in our aircraft and vehicles," he wrote.

"I believe Ornge has the skilled and committed personnel to accomplish this mission and working with these excellent people is one of the reasons I want to do this job."

Ornge has come under close scrutiny at Ontario's legislature, where a committee has heard explosive testimony about an alleged kickback scheme, exorbitant salaries and what one politician called "heavy-duty nepotism."

Ontario's auditor general has criticized the governing Liberals for failing to oversee Ornge, despite giving it $730 million over five years and allowing it to borrow another $300 million.

Ornge is currently under a criminal probe for financial irregularities.

The chairman of Ornge's board of directors said in a statement that the board is "very pleased" to have McCallum.

"His professional expertise and breadth of experience are an exceptional fit for the organization," Ian W. Delaney wrote in the statement.

"He knows first-hand the needs of patients and emergency health care delivery."