RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Andrew Witty’s retirement keeps getting busier. The former chief executive officer at drug giant GlaxoSmithKline is taking over as CEO at Optum, the health services and technology business arm of UnitedHealth Group.

Witty, who has served on the UnitedHealth board, will step down from that position immediately and assume the CEO position in July, United Health announced Monday.

“As I have now seen up close, Optum’s people, expansive capabilities, client focus and culture make it a unique platform from which to advance health care worldwide, so I am incredibly excited to be part of the team,” Witty said in a statement.

“With a proven strategy, great leadership and top talent, Optum has the unique opportunity to continue improving the health care experience, outcomes and value people receive in the U.S. and globally, and I am honored to participate in that mission – especially having come to know the leaders of the enterprise through my work as a director. In many ways, even with all its accomplishments, Optum feels as though it is just getting started.”

Witty retired as GSK’s top executive last year. However, he has remained very active, such as accepting a board seat at RTP-based G1 Therapeutics, which is developing drugs to fight cancer.

He also served as Chancellor of the University of Nottingham, a public research university in the U.K., and as an advisor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Witty worked at GSK from 1985 into 2017, becoming director and CEO in 2008.

“We are deeply fortunate in Andrew Witty to have the right person to extend Optum’s momentum and lead the business in its next phase of growth,” said UnitedHealth CEO David Wichmann.

Larry Renfro, the current CEO of Optum, will focus on Optum’s venture capital fund, UnitedHealth said.