Kurt DelBene, a recently-retired Microsoft executive and husband of Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), will take over running Healthcare.gov from its current steward, Jeffrey Zients, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced in a blog post today.
He starts, uhh, tomorrow. From the post:
Kurt, who most recently served as president of the Microsoft Office Division, will lead and manage HealthCare.gov starting this Wednesday. Kurt has proven expertise in heading large, complex technology teams and in product development. He will be a tremendous asset in our work.
Kurt will work closely with me, the White House, and the teams and senior leadership in place at HHS and CMS to see this project through its next important phase as the CMS team continues to build on their initial progress. He has agreed to serve in this role for at least the first half of next year. Because of the site’s progress, his responsibilities, while similar to Jeff’s, will reflect an evolution of focus as we move on to the next phase.
First, Kurt will provide management expertise, operations oversight, and critical advice on additional enrollment channels, field operations, marketing and communications. The President and I believe strongly in having one person, with strong experience and expertise in management and execution, who is thinking 24/7 about HealthCare.gov. Kurt’s leadership and management of HealthCare.gov will be in consultation with CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner and in partnership with the project’s general contractor, QSSI.
Second, Kurt will execute the plan in place, so that we can ensure the site’s performance is strong through the close of open enrollment on March 31, 2014. This will include a focus on increasing system stability, redundancy and capacity, and building on improvements to the user interface, while continuing to prioritize security and privacy issues in line with industry best practices.
Zients is slated to become White House National Economic Council Director next month.
As far as I can tell, DelBene is a well-respect executive whose exit from Microsoft was contemporaneous with the shakeup that occurred there this year, but not necessarily a casualty of it. He may have left the Seattle-based company to spend more time with his wife, who is just a second term member of Congress and spends much of her time in Washington.