Kurt DelBene helps with a mock swearing in for his wife, Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., on Capitol Hill in 2012.
(Photo: Alex Brandon, AP)
WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) - Kurt DelBene, former president of the Microsoft Office Division, will replace Jeff Zients as the lead on HealthCare.gov, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday.
"Jeff did an outstanding job working with our team to provide management advice and counsel on the HealthCare.gov project," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote in a blog post. "Today, the site is night and day from what it was when it launched on October 1."
Sebelius said DelBene would begin working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Wednesday.
Zients came in after HealthCare.gov's dismal rollout Oct. 1 to fix the site. He quickly brought in outside technology experts to determine the problems, initiated software and hardware upgrades, and began daily briefings with the press so the public would understand what the government was doing to fix the problem. He promised the site would be operational by Nov. 30, and the government was able to reach that goal.
"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 wrote. "He has agreed to serve in this role for at least the first half of next year."
Sebelius said DelBene would provide oversight and advice on everything from technology to marketing, as well as execute the existing plan.
"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," she wrote. He will continue to work with QSSI, the general contractor for HealthCare.gov.
Kelly Kennedy, USA TODAY