(Adds details and share move)
Aug 16 (Reuters) - UnitedHealth Group Inc's chief executive, Stephen Hemsley, is stepping down and will be succeeded by President David Wichmann, the largest U.S. health insurer said on Wednesday.
Hemsley, CEO of the company since 2006, will take on the newly created role of executive chairman, UnitedHealth said.
Shares of the company have risen nearly four-fold since Hemsley, 65, took over the CEO post.
Wichmann, 54, has been with UnitedHealth for nearly 20 years, and has earlier served as its chief financial officer.
UnitedHealth said Chairman Richard Burke would be appointed lead independent director.
Both Hemsley and Burke will take on their new roles on Sept. 1, the company said.
Shares of the company rose 1.2 percent to $196.89 in light premarket trading on Wednesday. (Reporting by Akankshita Mukhopadhyay and Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)