The White House is calling in a Microsoft executive to help it repair the embattled healthcare.gov website that has struggled with operability since it opened for business on Oct. 1.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the move in a blog post, saying that Kurt DelBene would succeed Jeff Zients and serve as her senior advisor. Zients made an emergency appearance at the agency amid widespread woes with the website.
Sebelius says in the posting that thanks to Zients, the site is "night and day from what it was when it launched on October 1."
DelBene, who most recently served as president of the Microsoft Office Division, will lead and manage HealthCare.gov starting tomorrow. Sebelius said he's "proven expertise in heading large, complex technology teams and in product development."
She said DelBene will work closely with HHS, the White House, and senior leadership to see the project "through its next important phase."
She said DelBene has agreed to serve in the role for at least the first half of next year.
He 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," Sebelius said.
She said DelBene 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."