Kurt DelBene, the retired president of Microsoft's Office Division, will take over the US Department of Health and Human Services' insurance shopping site, HealthCare.gov.
DelBene, who left Microsoft during a reorganisation last July, will take over operation of the site from Jeffrey Zients, a former acting director at the White House Office of Management and Budget, who signed on as an advisor to the site after a disastrous launch Oct. 1.
DelBene, as senior advisor to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, "has proven expertise in heading large, complex technology teams and in product development. He will be a tremendous asset in our work," Sebelius wrote in a blog post.
DelBene will focus in providing management and operations expertise and on giving advice on marketing and communications, Sebelius said. President Barack Obama and Sebelius "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.
Sebelius also praised Zients for his work on the site, which launched with frequent page errors and slow page-load times. "Today, the site is night and day from what it was when it launched," she wrote.
DelBene joined Microsoft in 1992 and served in several roles in the company's product development teams. He served as the general manager of Microsoft Outlook, and as group program manager for Microsoft Exchange, among other positions.
DelBene is married to U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene, a Democrat from Washington state.
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is [email protected]