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UnitedHealth Group shuffles executive management, names new Optum leaders

Andrew Hayek, who was CEO of Surgical Care Affiliates when it was acquired by Optum, was named CEO of OptumHealth.

Susan Morse, Managing Editor

UnitedHealth Group CEO Stephen Hemsley announced changes to the leadership team at UnitedHealthcare and Optum during the company's earnings call last week.

"We develop and think about these changes in advance," Hemsley said. "We kind of evolve them in our organization. We do these things when things are really, I think, in strong order. And I think our tradition has been to do these every two, between two years and three years. And we're excited about it, and I think it provides fresh new focus, a lot of energy. And we have a tremendous leadership team, great depth."

Steve Nelson, former leader of UnitedHealthcare's Medicare and retirement business, becomes CEO of UnitedHealthcare. 

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Taking over as CEO of Medicare and retirement is Brian Thompson, the division's CFO for the last several years.

UnitedHealthcare CFO Dan Schumacher will serve as president, Hemsley said.

Nelson and Schumacher and two others in UnitedHealthcare's leadership team -- Jeff Alter, chief executive for UnitedHealthcare's employer and individual business, and Austin Pittman, CEO of UnitedHealthcare's community and state -- will continue to operate as one team to accelerate efforts to drive growth and deepen the quality and consistency of its performance, Hemsley said.

Larry Renfro continues to lead UnitedHealth Group's Optum as its CEO.

"Optum's performance over the last five years under Larry Renfro leadership has been nothing short of exceptional," Hemsley said. "And we are laying the groundwork for even higher performance levels. Larry is evolving Optum's leadership team as well."

Dirk McMahon becomes Optum's operating president, having served UnitedHealth Group for 14 years.

John Prince becomes CEO of OptumRx, the pharmacy benefit management platform of Optum. He recently served as chief operating officer and executive vice president of Optum.

Eric Murphy, Optum's chief growth officer, is becoming CEO of OptumInsight, the advisory consulting branch of Optum. 

Dirk McMahon is president and chief operating officer of Optum, managing the business' technology division. He previously served as CEO of OptumRx.

Andrew Hayek, who was CEO of Surgical Care Affiliates when it was acquired by Optum, assumes overall leadership as CEO of OptumHealth, which provides health management services. 

Stepping down are Bill Miller, CEO of OptumInsight, and Mark Peer, CEO of OptumRx. 

Hemsley said in many instances, executives are being moved from one spot to another to broaden experience. 

"So, I wouldn't read anything more than we feel very comfortable taking these steps at this point in time," he said.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse