The Obama administration is set to announce that Microsoft executive Kurt DelBene will be brought on to succeed White House official Jeff Zients in leading the overhaul of HealthCare.gov, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced Tuesday.
“Kurt has proven expertise in heading large, complex technology teams and in product development. He will be a tremendous asset in our work,” Sebelius said in a blog post.
“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.”
Sebelius said that DelBene has agreed to serve in his role for at least the first half of 2014.
DelBene is the husband of Rep. Susan DelBene, a Democratic congresswoman from Washington.
Zients had been enlisted to lead the “tech surge” of HealthCare.gov, the federal website where people can sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
DelBene announced his retirement from Microsoft earlier this year amid the company’s big reorganization. He was president of the Microsoft Office division of the company. He has been with Microsoft since 1992.
Late last month, a group of Democratic senators led by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) wrote a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to quickly find a replacement for Zients, who is set to become the director of the National Economic Council.
The others who signed onto the letter were Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Mark Udall(D-Colo.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.).
“A project of this size and scope demands the sustained leadership and day-to-day management of a chief executive officer — someone whose sole responsibility would be an unrelenting focus on HealthCare.gov and who has experience overseeing large and complex consumer-facing technology projects,” the senators wrote.
“Sustaining the steady management focus that this position has already brought to the project would go a long way toward earning back the trust jeopardized by last month’s deeply flawed rollout.”
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