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Microsoft's Kurt DelBene To Oversee

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced that Microsoft Executive Kurt DelBene will be taking over the struggling Web site. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed in a briefing today that DelBene will be a senior advisor reporting directly to Sebelius.

Aimed at providing entry to the insurance marketplace that is perhaps the largest signature effort of the Obama presidency, was a debacle from the day of its launch on Oct. 1. The site is pivotal to the success of the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, and its beleaguered launch is arguably one of the biggest failed IT efforts to date. At the time of its launch, the site repeatedly crashed and few were able to get into the healthcare exchange. Performance has vastly improved since then but the task is far from complete.

DelBene will take over management of from Jeffrey Zients, a management expert who was brought in to temporarily oversee the project. Once the transition is complete, Zients will be moving to his new position as director of the National Economic Council in February.

Microsoft said back in July (at the time of its largest reorganization in many years) that DelBene would be retiring from the company and gave no hint at the time at today's announced move.

DelBene is a 21-year Microsoft veteran and most recently served as president of Microsoft's lucrative Office division. During his tenure, he also oversaw development teams and, according to his bio, oversaw the Office engineering organization including Office desktop applications, Office Web applications, SharePoint, Exchange Server, Microsoft Office Communications Server (now Lync) and Office Labs. In addition he managed document and Web-page authoring and collaboration tools for Office.

Carney described DelBene as "uniquely suited" to overseeing, given his management roles at Microsoft, his prior stints as a management consultant with McKinsey and an engineer at AT&T Bell Labs.


Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 12/17/2013 at 10:46 AM


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