One of the most powerful and influential people in the health system, Maccabi Health Services director-general Prof. Yehoshua Shemer, has decided to step down from his position after six intensive years in which he boosted the status and membership of the country's second-largest health fund. Shemer, 59, was chosen by the Maccabi board on Monday night as associate chairman of the health fund, which has 1.3 million members. He requested that his new post be unpaid. A search committee headed by Prof. Ya'acov Ne'eman will look for a replacement. In the meantime, Shemer will remain as director-general until the replacement is ready to function on his own. He will remain as unpaid chairman of Assuta Medical Centers, Maccabi's private hospital network, as chairman of Maccabi's research institute and in some other unnamed positions. He intends to devote most of his time to cancer and biotechnology research. A former chief medical officer of the Israel Defense Forces, Shemer is also a professor at Tel Aviv University's medical school - and will continue to do research and teach there - associate editor of two medical journals and a leading expert in medical technologies. He invented the mechanism by which the "basket of health services" is upgraded and was previously director-general of the Health Minsitry. Shemer told The Jerusalem Post that he had reached "the peak" of achievements at Maccabi and achieved all he could dream of. "A person has to know when to leave, and I always preached rotation," he said. "I am well, and I am not tired." He did not rule out the possibility of one day serving as a highly trained health minister.