Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced today the most recent in a series of management hires intended to ensure a successful 2015 Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Kevin Counihan will join the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) team as marketplace chief executive officer (CEO). Lori Lodes has been named the new director of communications for CMS.

“When I arrived at the department, I committed to retain, develop, and recruit the best talent available, and that’s what we are doing,” Secretary Burwell says in a release. “We are building strong teams with the focus and know-how necessary to advance our mission and deliver impact for the people we serve. We are committed to instilling ongoing accountability for reaching milestones, measuring results, and ensuring a successful open enrollment period. I’m particularly pleased to welcome Kevin Counihan to the new marketplace CEO role. He brings additional operational and technological expertise to the position and will be a clear, single point of contact for streamlined decision-making.”

In his role as marketplace CEO, Counihan will be responsible and accountable for leading the federal marketplace, managing relationships with state marketplaces, and running the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, which regulates health insurance at the federal level. He will report to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.

Counihan is an experienced senior executive with more than three decades of success in business, marketing, operations, product development, and strategic planning for healthcare organizations. He most recently served as Connecticut’s Health Insurance Exchange CEO, a role he was chosen for by Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy, and during which he oversaw the successful implementation of the state’s marketplace, where enrollment exceeded expectations. Connecticut was the first state to surpass the goal for Affordable Care Act enrollees, and since 2012, the state’s uninsured rate has been cut nearly in half–from 7.9% to 4.0%. Nine states have contacted Connecticut’s exchange about implementing its technology.

As the director of the Office of Communications, Lodes will serve as senior advisor to the administrator in all activities related to open enrollment, communications, and external engagement, as well as providing counsel to senior HHS leadership. The CMS Office of Communications is the agency’s focal point for communication and public engagement initiatives, providing leadership in the areas of customer service, website operations, traditional and new media, call center operations, consumer materials, and public information campaigns.

Lodes most recently served as senior vice president for campaigns and strategies for the Center for American Progress Action Fund, and senior vice president at the Center for American Progress. She brings to the position a wealth of strategic communications experience.

In addition, Tim Hughey of Accenture, the federal marketplace system developer and maintainer, will continue to provide technology support to CMS throughout the next open enrollment. Hughey has extensive experience designing, building, and deploying technical architectures and is a longstanding member of the Accenture management team. He will focus on technology issues in the areas of systems architecture, tools, security, and networks across all contractors involved in the federal marketplace.

“Secretary Burwell and I are excited to welcome these new members to our team and work in partnership to improve access to health care and improve the quality of care for so many Americans,” Tavenner says. “These strong leaders bring a wealth of experience to bolster our team and will help build on the Affordable Care Act implementation progress to date.”