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Agency’s ‘Technical Competence and Compassion’ Protect Retirement for Millions


Josh Gotbaum’s final day as director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. was timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the landmark law that created the agency, the 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

In a Tuesday email to his staff of 2,300, Gotbaum, appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2010, praised the agency’s “special combination of technical competence and compassion.” 

He singled out four chief accomplishments for PBGC under his tenure:

  • The preservation of American Airlines and its multiple pension plans
  • Outreach to stakeholders, including Congress
  • Improvements in retirement security that go beyond defined benefit plans
  • Progress in grooming a new generation of management

“Much more remains to be done,” Gotbaum wrote. “Absent congressional action this year, multiemployer plans affecting millions will probably fail. Absent more flexibility for plans and their sponsors, many more will decide not to offer pensions, leaving responsibility for retirement security in the hands of individuals who are often the ones least able to assure it.” 

His departure, announced in July, also came after the agency posted a week of blog items detailing highlights of PBGC history. Until Obama names his replacement, the director’s duties are being handled by Chief Management Officer Alice Maroni.

Charles S. Clark joined Government Executive in the fall of 2009. He has been on staff at The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Time-Life Books, Tax Analysts, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the National Center on Education and the Economy. He has written or edited online news, daily news stories, long features, wire copy, magazines, books, and organizational media strategies.

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