Nova Scotia

Former IWK CEO removed from 100 most powerful women list

Tracy Kitch was named to the list before she became the subject of an investigation for charging personal expenses to the women and children's hospital.

Tracy Kitch made the list before being investigated for charging personal expenses to hospital

IWK CEO Tracy Kitch repaid thousands of dollars of expenses the hospital said were charged to her corporate credit card. (Career Women Interaction)

The former CEO of the IWK Health Centre has been removed from a list of Canada's most powerful women, an award created by the Women's Executive Network.

A spokesperson for the organization confirmed Tracy Kitch was named to the Top 100 list before she became the subject of an investigation for charging personal expenses to the Halifax-based women and children's hospital.

"We have determined she will not be a recipient of the 2017 Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award. Once the investigation is concluded we will evaluate our next steps," PhaseNyne, the parent company of the Women's Executive Network, wrote in an email statement Wednesday evening.

Kitch had been listed as a recipient of the award as late as Tuesday evening. But when the full list of women was released Wednesday, Kitch's name was not included.

Kitch was also a recipient of the award in 2016 — in the PwC public sector leaders category — for her work at the IWK.

Expense scandal

In June, CBC News reported Kitch used a corporate credit card to pay for personal expenses.

Under a freedom of information request, CBC News had requested credit card statements for Tracy Kitch since August 2014, when she took over as head of the $250-million health-care operation.

An October 2016 statement showed a charge of $5,876 by the Women's Executive Network. That charge, according to the IWK Health Centre, was to buy a table at a gala.

Kitch stepped down from her post as chief executive in late August, one week before an independent audit found she expensed about $47,000 in personal charges to the IWK for things like air travel, hotel costs, data overages and car rentals.

Some of Kitch's expenses had been repaid by the time she resigned, and the remainder paid back in early October after the hospital board threatened legal action.

Nova Scotia's auditor general has launched an investigation into the IWK's financial practices. (Shaina Luck/CBC)

Nova Scotia's auditor general has since announced his office will examine the IWK's books and practices, and the hospital's board has referred the matter of Kitch's expenses to Halifax Regional Police.

When it was revealed that Kitch was on the 2017 award list, there was an immediate response on social media calling for her award to be rescinded.

On Wednesday, Debby Carreau, CEO and founder of Inspired HR and someone who has been on the list four times, told CBC News that she thought Kitch's award should've been immediately taken away.

Halifax winners

Four women from the Halifax area made the most powerful list in the following categories:

  • Kelly Williamson, Lt.-Cmdr. with the Canadian Armed Forces, public affairs, Maritime Forces, Atlantic - BMO Arts & Communications.
  • Laurel Broten, president and CEO at Nova Scotia Business Inc. - CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters.
  • Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia, president and CEO at Digital Nova Scotia - RBC Champions.
  • Maike van Niekerk, founder and CEO of Katrin's Karepackage - Telus Future Leaders.

About the Author

Anjuli Patil

Reporter

Anjuli Patil is a reporter and occasional video journalist with CBC Nova Scotia's digital team.