Local executive tapped to head up Healthcare.gov

SEATTLE -- The head of Microsoft's Office Division -- and husband of Congresswoman Susan DelBene -- announced Tuesday he was leaving the computer giant in order to head up the government's embattled healthcare website.

DelBene will head up the country's Healthcare.gov website starting Wednesday, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said in a release Tuesday. DelBene will succeed Jeff Zients, the former director of the National Economic Council. He will serve for at least a year and a half as the director, Sebelius said.

Sebelius said DelBene will work closely with her in building confidence and strengthening progress in the country's healthcare.gov website; something that has lacked since the website's roll-out in November.

"First, Kurt will provide management expertise, operations oversight, and critical advice on additional enrollment channels, field operations, marketing and communications," Sebelius said. "The President and I believe strongly in having one person with strong experience and expertise in management and execution, who is thinking 21/7 about HealthCare.gov."

The Puget Sound Business Journal reported that DelBene, who is wealthy from his career at Microsoft,  will donate his entire salary gained from the position back to the country's treasury.

The former chief of Microsoft has already said he would retire from the position at the end of his head position at the end of the year.

Congresswoman DelBene commented Tuesday on her husband's post.

"Kurt has demonstrated throughout his career that he is about results, and his decision to join the Administration will be extremely valuable to their efforts to improve the website," Congresswoman DelBene said.

For more on this story, see the LA Times profile on Delbene.