The White House announced the nomination W. Thomas Reeder Jr. as director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. last week.
The nomination comes more than eight months after the resignation of previous director, Josh Gotbaum.
Reeder is health care counsel at the IRS, a position he’s held since March 2013.
Previously, he was senior benefits counsel on the Senate Finance Committee, from 2009 to 2013. He holds a law degree from the University of Texas, and spent from 1987 to 2000 practicing in the private sector before taking the first of several positions with the IRS.
In a statement, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, strongly endorsed Reeder’s nomination.
“The President has made a wise and necessary choice by nominating Tom Reeder,” Wyden wrote. “His leadership is especially important at this point in time when the trend is to move a way from defined benefit pension plans, when the nation’s savings rate remains low and budgets are tight at the PBGC. I urge my Senate colleagues to quickly confirm him.”
Much like the premium rates assessed on sponsors of defined benefit plans, PBGC has no involvement in the selection of its leadership. Reeder’s nomination awaits Senate confirmation.
The Pension Protection Act of 2006 provided the director of PBGC be nominated by the sitting President and confirmed by the Senate. Prior to that, the Corp.’s head was selected by its Board of Directors, which includes the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.
George W. Bush appointed the first presidentially nominated director, Charles Millard. Millard came from the private sector and was known for diversifying PBGC’s investment portfolio, among other things, according to PBGC’s website. He was director for a little more than two years, after unanimous Senate consent.
Josh Gotbaum was nominated by President Obama and served as director for more than four years.
Gotbaum’s original nomination stalled in the Senate near the end of 2009, reportedly held up by Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who opposed the termination of pension plans sponsored by Delphi Corp. that were part of GM’s bankruptcy settlement.
President Obama then bypassed Congress and made Gotbaum director in a recess appointment. He was later confirmed by the Senate in September of 2010, a bylaw requirement if Gotbaum was to serve beyond two years.
The Senate Finance Committee has yet to set a timeline on Reeder’s confirmation vote, according to a committee spokesperson.
Source: Benefits Pro