The Board of Directors of UnitedHealth Group has named Sir Andrew Witty as chief executive officer, succeeding David S. Wichmann, who is retiring after what the company called a successful tenure during a period of growth, innovation and the challenges of COVID-19.
Witty becomes CEO immediately, with Wichmann continuing in a transition period through March 2021.
Witty has been serving in the dual roles of president of UnitedHealth Group and CEO of Optum. He was named CEO of Optum in March 2018 and became president of UnitedHealth Group in November 2019.
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He previously served as a UnitedHealth Group company director.
From April 2020 to December 2020, Witty took an unpaid leave of absence from his company positions to serve as a Global Envoy for the World Health Organization's COVID-19 efforts. He also served as an advisor to the U.K. Government Vaccine Taskforce.
From 2008 to 2017, Witty was CEO and a director of the leading pharmaceutical manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline.
Wichmann joined UnitedHealth Group in 1998 and became its CEO in September 2017. He served as CFO from 2011 until mid-2016 when he became president. He had previously led UnitedHealthcare and UnitedHealth Group's enterprise-wide operations and technology efforts, along with external development, M&A, and integration activities at the company.
In other leadership changes, Dirk McMahon will become president and chief operating officer, joining Witty and CFO John Rex in the chief executive office.
McMahon has served as CEO of UnitedHealthcare since June 2019. Prior to this role, McMahon was president and chief operating officer for Optum.
WHY THIS MATTERS
The changes ensure a seamless continuity of the company's strategy, operations and results, the company said.
THE LARGER TREND
The company has reiterated its 2021 outlook for adjusted net earnings of $17.75 to $18.25 per share and its commitment to a long-term 13% to 16% growth rate.
ON THE RECORD
"I am deeply honored to help guide one of the most consequential organizations in healthcare, where our responsibility is to execute flawlessly and deliver on our potential each day," said Witty. "Together with my partners Dirk McMahon and John Rex, we have the right strategy, and tremendous people and capabilities throughout the organization to continue strengthening our efforts to improve the health system for everyone. Dave Wichmann is leaving a powerful legacy of service to others and commitment to innovation for us to build upon."
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