As the organisation's chief from 2000 to 2008, Baroness Young of Old Scone is alleged to have followed a programme that opposed dredging in order to protect the wildlife habitats around rivers.
However, residents claim this move meant flood waters could not escape to the sea.
Barbara Scott Young, 65, is currently chief executive of health charity Diabetes UK.
She spent her entire working life in administration, initially in health service management.
A friend and former colleague in the NHS, Alasdair Liddell, described meeting her in the 1970s as a breath of fresh air.
"She had plenty of get up and go. I think she was different than run of the mill health service managers at the time. She would be one of a group - surprised if she didn't make an impression on the world," he said.