The chief executive of UnitedHealth Group's Optum division for health care services is now president of the parent company as well.

Andrew Witty will oversee enterprise business strategy formulation and development among other duties while continuing as CEO at Optum, according to an announcement this week from Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group.

David Wichmann remains chief executive at UnitedHealth Group. He was the last company executive to have the title of UnitedHealth Group president, a position he had before becoming CEO in September 2017.

"Optum has made remarkable progress under Andrew's leadership over the past 18 months, clarifying and focusing its strategy, and driving key priorities to advance Optum's position as a leader in health care services," Wichmann said in a statement. "I'm confident that expanding Andrew's strategic insights more broadly across the company will help accelerate the next phase of innovation and growth at UnitedHealth Group as we focus on building and shaping the next-generation health system in a socially conscious way."

UnitedHealth Group is Minnesota's largest company by revenue and employs about 18,000 people. The company operates UnitedHealthcare, which is the nation's largest health insurer, as well as Optum, a health services company that operates divisions for health care delivery, pharmaceutical benefits management and health care consulting.

Witty came to UnitedHealth Group in July 2018 after roughly 10 years as chief executive at the pharmaceutical giant Glaxo­SmithKline.

During his time at UnitedHealth Group, the company has detailed more of its plans for developing an ambulatory care network of health care providers including clinics, surgery centers and urgent care providers.

During an October conference call with investors, Witty said the ambulatory-care business is part of the company's plan to help contain rising health care costs.

"I gave three or four OptumCare examples where we're now seeing material reductions in cost," said Witty, who told investors about the company's large primary-care groups in California, New Jersey, Nevada and Texas.

"Our goal now is ... to spread that activity across the broader network of Optum, nationally," he said.

Christopher Snowbeck • 612-673-4744 Twitter: @chrissnowbeck