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Ex-GSK CEO Andrew Witty to take helm at Optum

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MINNEAPOLIS — Former GlaxoSmithKline plc chief executive officer Sir Andrew Witty has been named CEO of Optum, the health services, technology and pharmacy benefits management unit of health insurance giant UnitedHealth Group.

Plans call for Witty to start as Optum CEO on July 1. He takes over from Larry Renfro, vice chair of UnitedHealth Group, who has been charged with leading the company’s enterprise growth efforts and Optum’s next-generation investment initiatives through an expanded Optum Ventures.

Andrew Witty_GSK_Optum_UnitedHealth Group

Andrew Witty

With the appointment, Witty will step down from the UnitedHealth Group board of directors, effective immediately. He has served as a member of the UnitedHealth Group board since last August.

Optum’s business segments include OptumHealth, the OptumRx PBM and OptumInsight.

“As I have now seen up close, Optum’s people, expansive capabilities, client focus and culture make it a unique platform from which to advance health care worldwide, so I am incredibly excited to be part of the team,” Witty said in a statement.

“With a proven strategy, great leadership and top talent, Optum has the unique opportunity to continue improving the health care experience, outcomes and value people receive in the U.S. and globally,” he added, “and I am honored to participate in that mission — especially having come to know the leaders of the enterprise through my work as a director. In many ways, even with all its accomplishments, Optum feels as though it is just getting started.”

Witty joined GSK in 1985 and served as CEO and a board director from 2008 until 2017. He was awarded a knighthood for services to the United Kingdom economy and the U.K. pharmaceutical industry in 2012.

“We are deeply fortunate in Andrew Witty to have the right person to extend Optum’s momentum and lead the business in its next phase of growth. He brings more than three decades of health care system strategic thinking and knowledge from around the globe, a record of fostering innovation and partnerships, seasoned leadership of complex organizations and a commitment to improving care delivery that will now benefit Optum,” stated David Wichmann, CEO of UnitedHealth Group.

“Critically, he has deep experience with how data and analytics and new technologies can be used to improve patient outcomes, better serve consumers, lower costs and drive value across the system — which is at the heart of Optum’s work to shape health care for the better,” Wichmann noted. “Andrew’s experience and familiarity with the business and our leaders through his service on our board will make this a seamless transition.”


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