UnitedHealth Group has hired a new executive focused on diversity, equity and inclusion work at the Minnetonka-based health care company.

Joy Fitzgerald started this week at UnitedHealth Group, after previously working as the chief diversity and inclusion officer at Indiana-based Eli Lilly. She replaces Karen Sachs, who recently retired from UnitedHealth Group.

During Fitzgerald's time with the pharmaceutical company, Lilly was named among the top 3 companies for inclusion and diversity by Diversity Inc., an online publication. UnitedHealth Group is not listed in the publication's most recent Top 50 list, which benchmarks workplace efforts to hire, retain, develop and promote individuals from underrepresented groups including people of color.

"Joy's hire reflects our commitment to strong leadership in our ongoing efforts to advance equity in our company through the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce reflective of the communities and people we serve," UnitedHealth Group said in a statement.

UnitedHealth Group operates UnitedHealthcare, which is the nation's largest health insurer, as well as Optum, a health services business that operates clinics, manages pharmacy benefits and analyzes health care data.

In a statement, UnitedHealth Group said that Fitzgerald was named to the inaugural list of "Elite 100 Black Women Executives" by Diversity Woman Magazine. She was recognized on the list of "Most Powerful Black Women in Corporate Diversity" by Black Enterprise and listed as a "Rising Star" by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association.

"Joy's proven track record of advancing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives will be a significant asset to UnitedHealth Group and represents our continued commitment to advancing equity inside and outside the company," said Patricia L. Lewis, the chief human resources officer at UnitedHealth Group, in a statement. "Joy's expertise in this area will support our mission to attract, develop and grow world-class talent at all levels."