UnitedHealth Group names new Optum CEO in shakeup

BY Joe Cooper

United Healthcare's Hartford offices.
Minnesota-based health insurer UnitedHealth Group Inc., which has a strong presence in Hartford, on Tuesday named its board member Andrew Witty as CEO of its pharmacy benefit unit, Optum.

Witty, a former CEO of GloxaSmithKline Plc, will take over for vice chair of UnitedHealth and current Optum CEO, Larry C. Renfro, effective July 1.

Renfro has been named to a new role as managing partner of Optum Ventures, which is the company's venture investment arm. He is being tasked with accelerating the company's innovation efforts, including overseeing a new $100 million global investment fund for emerging and advanced technologies, data analytics and healthcare services companies, the company said.

The new global fund will complement the domestic Optum Ventures fund announced in November, with total investment commitments of up to $600 million, the company said.

UnitedHealth Group CEO David S. Wichmann said the transition will be "seamless" given Witty's experience, as he will step down from its board immediately.