UnitedHealth has named Sir Andrew Witty as its new chief executive, handing the former head of UK pharma group GlaxoSmithKline a leading role in the US healthcare industry.
Witty will succeed David Wichmann, who spent less than four years at the helm of the healthcare company. The retirement of Wichmann, who has been at the Minnesota-based company for more than two decades, caught Wall Street by surprise.
The news is “surprising to us; we expected Wichmann would be CEO for many years to come,” said Scott Fidel, analyst at Stephens, though he added that United does have “an extremely deep senior management bench”.
Witty has been chief executive of UnitedHealth’s health services arm Optum since early 2018 and assumed the role of president the following year. For much of 2020, he took a leave of absence to help with the World Health Organization’s efforts to combat Covid-19.
“I am deeply honoured to help guide one of the most consequential organisation’s in healthcare, where our responsibility is to execute flawlessly and deliver on our potential each…