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UnitedHealth announces new head of insurance unit amid shakeup

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(Bloomberg) — UnitedHealth Group Inc. created a new office of the chief executive officer and announced a new head of its insurance business in a shakeup at the biggest U.S. health insurer.

The changes gives David Wichmann, previously the company’s chief financial officer, control of UnitedHealthcare, the company’s insurance products unit and its biggest line of business. Wichmann, 52, replaces Gail Boudreaux, who will leave, the company said in a statement today.

“We are bringing forward the next generation of leaders,” CEO Stephen Hemsley, 62, said in the statement. Boudreaux, 54, was leaving after meeting performance goals set in 2008, when she joined the company, he said. The statement didn’t say what she’ll do next.

UnitedHealth, based in Minnetonka, Minnesota, provides health coverage for about 85 million people, according to the company, and has been expanding its operations beyond the U.S. by doing deals abroad. The new office of the CEO will be headed by Hemsley and include Wichmann and Larry Renfro, 60, who will oversee UnitedHealth’s Optum unit and work on strategic relationships and business growth.