Andrew Witty

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Sir Andrew Witty
Andrew Witty wearing a suit
Witty in 2023
Born (1964-08-22) 22 August 1964 (age 59)
Alma materUniversity of Nottingham
Occupation(s)CEO, UnitedHealth Group
PredecessorDavid Wichmann
SpouseCaroline M. Hall

Sir Andrew Philip Witty (born 22 August 1964)[1] is a British business executive, who is the chief executive officer (CEO) of UnitedHealth Group. He was the CEO of GlaxoSmithKline between 2008 and 2017. He formerly held the role of chancellor of the University of Nottingham.[2]

Early life[edit]

Witty attended Malbank School (originally the "Nantwich and Acton Grammar School") in Nantwich, and then gained a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Nottingham.[1][3]


Witty joined Glaxo UK in 1985 as a management trainee.[4] He held various positions in the UK, including director of pharmacy & distribution in Glaxo Pharmaceuticals UK.[5]

He was a vice president and general manager of marketing of Glaxo Wellcome Inc., a subsidiary of GlaxoSmithKline with responsibility for strategy development, marketing execution and new product positioning. He was an economic adviser to the governor of Guangzhou, China, from 2000 to 2002.[6]

He was appointed president, Pharmaceuticals Europe of GlaxoSmithKline plc in January 2003[6] and succeeded Jean-Pierre Garnier as CEO following his retirement in May 2008. He was paid an annual salary of £948,000 and received bonuses and other compensation amounting to £2,180,000 for this role.[7][8]

In February 2009 he pledged to make a major change in the way GSK pharmaceuticals are priced, in an attempt to make vital drugs more affordable in countries with the lowest incomes. At the same time he announced that GSK would place certain patents in a pool so that they were freely available for others in the search for new drugs.[9]

From 2010 until 2015, Witty was on the business advisory board of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron.[10]

In October 2012 it was announced that he had been appointed the chancellor of the University of Nottingham with effect from 1 January 2013, having maintained strong ties with the university since graduation.[11] Witty announced his retirement from the role of chancellor in November 2017.[12]

In July 2013, the People's Republic of China announced that they were investigating allegations of fraud perpetrated by GSK going back to 2007 and involving thousands of millions of renminbi.[13] Witty stated "It appears that certain senior executives in the China business have acted outside our processes and controls to both defraud the company and the Chinese health care system. To see these allegations about people working for GSK is shameful. For me personally they are deeply disappointing."[14]

From 2013 to 2015, Witty was on the UNAIDSLancet Commission for Defeating AIDS and Advancing Global Health, co-chaired by Joyce Banda, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Peter Piot.[15][16] From 2015 until 2016, he was a member of the UN High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines, led by Ruth Dreifuss and Festus Mogae.[17]

In November 2015, Witty's leadership of GSK was criticised by Neil Woodford, who said that "he’s not doing a very good job". Woodford called for GSK to be split into four companies.[18] In March 2016, Witty announced that he was to step down as chief executive.[19]

From 2017 until 2018, Witty led the National Health Service’s Accelerated Access Collaborative.[20][21]

In July 2018, Witty became CEO of Optum, a division of UnitedHealth Group.[22] In November 2019, he was named president of UnitedHealth, in addition to his role as CEO of Optum.[23]

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.[24] In May 2020, he was appointed to the expert advisory group for the UK Government's Vaccine Task Force, chaired by Patrick Vallance.[25]

Witty became CEO of UnitedHealth Group in February 2021.[26]

In April 2021, he was also appointed to the Pandemic Preparedness Partnership (PPP), an expert group chaired by Vallance to advise the G7 presidency held by the government of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson.[27]

Corporate Membership[edit]

Corporate boards[edit]

  • G1 Therapeutics, non-executive director (since 2017)[28]
  • Synthego, member of the advisory board (since 2017)[29]
  • Hatteras Venture Partners, advisor[30]

Non-profit organizations[edit]


Witty was knighted in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to the economy and the UK pharmaceutical industry.[33] He was also conferred the Honorary Citizen of Singapore in 2018.[34]


  1. ^ a b c Davidson, Andrew (26 July 2009). "The Andrew Davidson Interview: Andrew Witty". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  2. ^ "Chancellor". University of Nottingham. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  3. ^ Pagnamenta, Robin (12 January 2008). "Business big shot: Andrew Witty". The Times. London. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  4. ^ "Andrew Witty's journey from Graduate to GSK CEO". GlaxoSmithKline. 12 August 2008. Archived from the original on 12 December 2021. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  5. ^ "Andrew Witty profile". GlaxoSmithKline. 15 January 2010. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  6. ^ a b c "GlaxoSmithKline appoints Andrew Witty CEO designate". GlaxoSmithKline. 8 October 2007. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  7. ^ "Andrew Witty Profile at". Forbes. 2009. Archived from the original on 27 November 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  8. ^ "Andrew Witty: Executive Profile & Biography at BusinessWeek". BusinessWeek. Archived from the original on 12 July 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  9. ^ Boseley, Sarah (13 February 2009). "Drug giant GlaxoSmithKline pledges cheap medicine for world's poor". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  10. ^ Elizabeth Rigby and Sarah Gordon (27 July 2015), David Cameron replaces his entire business advisory board Financial Times.
  11. ^ University of Nottingham appoints new Chancellor – The University of Nottingham
  12. ^ Cass, Liz (3 November 2017). "Chancellor set to retire". University of Nottingham. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  13. ^ Ahmed, Kamal (19 July 2013). "GSK chief Andrew Witty set to admit China 'scam'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  14. ^ Rojas, John-Paul (24 July 2013). "GlaxoSmithKline boss Sir Andrew Witty:: UK headquarters 'knew nothing' of China fraud". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  15. ^ New UNAIDS and Lancet Commission to explore HIV and global health in the Post-2015 debate UNAIDS, press release of 26 May 2013.
  16. ^ UNAIDS and Lancet Commission address strategic challenges for the future of AIDS and global health UNAIDS, press release of 1 July 2013.
  17. ^ United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines Calls For New Deal to Close the Health Innovation and Access Gap UN High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines, press release of 14 September 2016.
  18. ^ Romeo, Valentina. "Neil Woodford launches fresh attack on GlaxoSmithKline - Money Marketing Money Marketing". Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  19. ^ "GlaxoSmithKline chief Sir Andrew Witty to step down - BBC News". Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  20. ^ Accelerated access scheme means patients will get new treatments faster Department of Health and Social Care, press release of 3 November 2017.
  21. ^ New chair appointed to improve patient access to innovation in the NHS Department of Health and Social Care, press release of 19 June 2018.
  22. ^ "UnitedHealth names former GSK CEO Andrew Witty as Optum head". reuters. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  23. ^ "UnitedHealth Group names Optum CEO as president". Star Tribune. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  24. ^ Bruce Japsen (15 April 2020). "Optum CEO Witty To Take Leave To Join WHO's COVID-19 Vaccine Effort". Forbes. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  25. ^ Funding and manufacturing boost for UK vaccine programme Government of the United Kingdom, press release of 17 May 2020.
  26. ^ "UnitedHealth Group CEO steps down, Optum Chief takes over". Star Tribune. 4 February 2021. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  27. ^ New global partnership launched to fight future pandemics Government of the United Kingdom, press release of April 20, 2021.
  28. ^ G1 Therapeutics Appoints Sir Andrew Witty to Board of Directors G1 Therapeutics, press release of 13 July 2017.
  29. ^ Sir Andrew Witty, Former CEO of GSK, Joins Synthego Advisory Board Synthego, press release of 20 September 2017.
  30. ^ Andrew Witty Hatteras Venture Partners.
  31. ^ Michael Mills (18 June 2020), WHO COVID-19 vaccine co-lead appointed to head Business School Advisory Board Imperial College Business School.
  32. ^ Global Advisory Board Duke Institute for Health Innovation (DIHI).
  33. ^ "No. 60009". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2011. p. 2.
  34. ^ "Singapore Confers Honorary Citizen Award on Sir Andrew Witty" (PDF). 26 June 2018.

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by Chief Executive Officer of GlaxoSmithKline
Succeeded by
Academic offices
Preceded by Chancellor of the University of Nottingham
Succeeded by