The NHS will continue to pay the six figure salary of a senior manager for up to two years despite the fact she will not return to her job.
Jo-Anne Wass, national director for human resources and organisation development at NHS England, will be paid a reported salary of more than £150,000 a year while she takes up a consultancy role at Leeds University.
NHS England confirmed she has no plans to return to her NHS job in a move described by NHS chief executive, Sir David Nicholson, as a "good personal career development opportunity".
NHS England said Ms Wass was taking a "secondment" but confirmed she had "made it clear" she has no intention of returning to her job.
A spokeswoman said: "NHS England has agreed with Jo-Anne to pay her salary for up to two years while she is on secondment.
"There are real benefits to encouraging the links between local education and the health care sector. This is particularly true in Leeds where the NHS and the university are two of the city's largest employers and it is crucial they have a strong relationship.
"Jo-Anne thinks it is right that NHS England has certainty in planning for the future. As a result Jo-Anne has made it clear that she has no intention of returning to her role."
Last month, the Health Service Journal (HSJ) reported her planned departure.
In a statement Ms Wass said: "I have made this decision with mixed emotions. Having worked in the NHS for 25 years, my dedication and commitment to it remains strong.
"However, my close colleagues will tell you that I have always been passionate about the power of education to change lives, create opportunity and social mobility, and ultimately improve health.
"In the end, I concluded this was too good a chance to let pass."
Charlotte Leslie, a Tory MP and member of the Health Select Committee, described the six figure agreement as "absolutely unbelievable".
She said: 'It shows that the NHS is a tale of two worlds.
'There is the hard-working front line who abide by economic rules and austerity."
In a statement last month after her departure was announced, Sir David said: "Jo-Anne Wass has been an excellent and dedicated member of both the Board and Executive Team within NHS England and was instrumental in establishing the organisation.
"This secondment presents not only a good personal career development opportunity for Jo-Anne, in a sector which she is passionate about, but is one that will draw upon her considerable skills and knowledge for the benefit of both the NHS and the University of Leeds.
"I would like to thank Jo-Anne for all of her work on behalf of NHS England and to wish her every success in this new role".