Sir Andrew Witty is a British business executive who currently serves as the chief executive officer (CEO) of UnitedHealth Group, a leading healthcare company, since February 2021. In this role, Witty is responsible for setting the strategic direction and overseeing the overall performance of the organization, as well as driving its long-term growth agenda. He is also a member of the UnitedHealth Group Board of Directors.
Prior to joining UnitedHealth Group, Witty held various leadership positions at GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK), a prominent pharmaceutical manufacturer, from 1985 to 2017. He served as the CEO and a director of GSK from 2008 to 2017, during which he played a pivotal role in shaping the company's operations and growth. Before assuming the CEO position, Witty served as the president of GSK Europe.
Beyond his corporate roles, Witty has been actively involved in academia and public service. He served as the chancellor of the University of Nottingham, a renowned British public research university. Witty is also a member of the Singapore Prime Minister’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council, contributing his expertise to drive research and innovation in the country. In addition, he assumed the role of chair for the Imperial College Business School Advisory Board in November 2020.
In recognition of his significant contributions to the U.K. economy, Witty was knighted in 2012. He has also been honoured as an honorary citizen of Singapore in 2017, acknowledging his contributions to the country's growth and development. Witty holds honorary degrees from prestigious institutions including Exeter, Manchester, and Nottingham Universities.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Witty demonstrated his commitment to global health by taking an unpaid leave as a special envoy at the World Health Organization (WHO) from April to December 2020. In this role, he co-led efforts to accelerate responses to the pandemic and played a crucial role in advancing global healthcare initiatives.
With his extensive experience in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, along with his dedication to public service and academia, Sir Andrew Witty has established himself as a respected leader in the industry.
Andrew Witty is a British business executive known for his notable career in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Born on August 22, 1964, he attended Malbank School in Nantwich and later obtained a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Nottingham.
Witty's professional journey began in 1985 when he joined Glaxo UK as a management trainee. Over the years, he held various positions within the company, including director of pharmacy & distribution in Glaxo Pharmaceuticals UK. In 2000, Witty served as an economic adviser to the governor of Guangzhou, China, further expanding his expertise and experience.
In January 2003, Witty was appointed as the president of Pharmaceuticals Europe at GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK). He then succeeded Jean-Pierre Garnier as CEO in May 2008. During his tenure, Witty made significant contributions to the company's growth and development. In February 2009, he pledged to change GSK's pricing strategy to increase access to essential medications in low-income countries. He also announced the placement of certain patents in a pool for broader use in the search for new drugs.
Witty's influence extended beyond his role at GSK. He served on the business advisory board of the United Kingdom's Prime Minister, David Cameron, from 2010 to 2015. Additionally, he became the chancellor of the University of Nottingham in January 2013, after maintaining a strong connection with the institution since his graduation. Witty retired from the role of chancellor in November 2017.
During his career, Witty actively engaged in global health initiatives. He served on the UNAIDS-Lancet Commission for Defeating AIDS and Advancing Global Health from 2013 to 2015 and was a member of the UN High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines from 2015 to 2016.
In March 2016, Witty announced his decision to step down as chief executive of GSK. Following his departure, he took on various leadership positions, including leading the National Health Service's Accelerated Access Collaborative from 2017 to 2018. In July 2018, he became the CEO of Optum, a division of UnitedHealth Group. Subsequently, in November 2019, Witty was named the president of UnitedHealth in addition to his role as CEO of Optum.
In April 2020, Witty took a one-year leave of absence from Optum to assist the World Health Organization in developing a vaccine for COVID-19. His expertise was further recognized when he was appointed to the expert advisory group for the UK Government's Vaccine Task Force in May 2020.
Witty assumed the position of CEO of UnitedHealth Group in February 2021. He continued to contribute to global health efforts by joining the Pandemic Preparedness Partnership (PPP) as an expert group member in April 2021, advising the G7 presidency held by the government of the United Kingdom.
Outside of his corporate roles, Witty holds various corporate board memberships, including G1 Therapeutics as a non-executive director since 2017 and Synthego as a member of the advisory board since 2017. He is also involved in non-profit organizations, serving as the chair of the advisory board for Imperial College Business School since 2020 and as a member of the Singapore Land Authority Board. Witty's expertise and leadership have made a significant impact on the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors throughout his career.
Andrew Witty's vision encompasses driving positive change in healthcare and contributing to the well-being of individuals and communities. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated a commitment to improving access to quality healthcare and addressing global health challenges.
One of Witty's key priorities is to enhance the affordability and accessibility of essential medicines. During his tenure as CEO of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), he initiated efforts to make vital drugs more affordable in low-income countries by restructuring GSK's pricing strategies. This included pledging to change the way GSK pharmaceuticals are priced and making certain patents available for others to use in the search for new drugs. Witty recognized the importance of ensuring that life-saving medications are accessible to those who need them most, irrespective of their socioeconomic status.
Witty has also been actively involved in global health initiatives. As a special envoy at the World Health Organization (WHO), he co-led the effort to accelerate responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. His role involved collaborating with international stakeholders to develop strategies and solutions to address the health crisis on a global scale.
Furthermore, Witty's vision extends to promoting innovation and research in healthcare. He has served on various advisory boards and councils, such as the Singapore Prime Minister's Research, Innovation, and Enterprise Council, where he has contributed his expertise to advance scientific and technological advancements in the healthcare sector. As the CEO of UnitedHealth Group and Optum, Witty continues to drive the strategic direction of these organizations, focusing on long-term growth and leveraging innovation to improve healthcare outcomes.
In addition to his contributions to the healthcare industry, Witty is committed to socioeconomic development. He has served as the chancellor of the University of Nottingham, supporting educational initiatives and fostering partnerships between academia and industry. Witty's dedication to the betterment of society is also evident through his involvement in various non-profit organizations and advisory boards.
Recognition and Awards
- UnitedHealth Group | openbusinesscouncil.org
- GlaxoSmithKline | openbusinesscouncil.org
- Andrew Witty profile | Wikipedia
- About Andrew Witty | UnitedHealth Group
- Chancellor Sir Andrew Witty | University of Nottingham Malaysia
- Sir Andrew Witty profile | World Economic Forum
- WHO COVID-19 vaccine co-lead appointed to head Business School Advisory Board | Imperial College London
- GSK chief executive Andrew Witty receives knighthood | PMLiVE
- Andrew Witty biography | The Wall Street Journal
- U.S. joins WHO programme aimed at boosting COVID-19 fight | Reuters
- Andrew Witty biography | Wikiwand
- Glaxo picks European boss to succeed Garnier | The Guardian
- GSK's Andrew Witty: the man who sold the world cheaper medicines | The Guardian
- David Cameron replaces his entire business advisory board | Financial Times
- Andrew Witty Elevated To CEO At UnitedHealth Group In Surprise Shakeup At Largest Health Insurer | Forbes
- Pharmaceuticals, patents, publicity…and philanthropy? | The Lancet
- Witty: UnitedHealth bullish on its growth trajectory, particularly for Optum | Fierce Healthcare
- The Role of Innovation in Addressing Global Health | US Department of States