Former Microsoft executive Kurt DelBene will be the new leader of Healthcare.gov, the troubled website through which Americans can access the new federal insurance marketplace. DelBene recently retired from Microsoft after over two decades of work there, most recently as head of the Office division. He'll start work as a senior advisor to Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, on Wednesday, when he'll begin managing the website and working toward improving its stability, interface, and security.
"Kurt is a talented and capable executive."
Despite DelBene's long tenure at Microsoft, top leadership from the company appear to be excited about his appointment. "Kurt is a talented and capable executive," Bill Gates says in a blog post. "I’m certain he’ll make an important positive contribution in his new role with HHS." Ballmer echoes similar sentiments, saying that DelBene's skills will be "invaluable" to the work on Healthcare.gov.
DelBene will be replacing Jeff Zients, who was appointed in late October but is now moving on to be director of the National Economic Council. DelBene will succeed him through at least the first half of next year, which is as long as he's promised to stay on board for now. "[DelBene] will be a tremendous asset in our work," Sebelius writes in an announcement today. Though Healthcare.gov is finally said to be in a largely operational state, putting a former executive from a major tech company in charge may be an important step toward getting it the rest of the way.