Chao Makes ERISA Council Appointments

April 9, 2003 ( - US Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao tapped seven people to serve on the Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans and appointed the group's 2003 leadership.

Named to three year terms on the group, also known as the ERISA Advisory Council, were:

  • Mary Maguire of New York City, corporate trust, a consultant with Davis Consulting in New York City and a former partner with EBUSINESSWARE, Inc.
  • R. Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga, Tennessee; investment management; senior vice president of investments at Salomon Smith Barney since 1987 and assistant vice president at Merrill Lynch prior to that.
  • Mark Bongard of Lexington, Kentucky; employer representative; a senior benefits attorney for Ashland, Inc., a Kentucky company with 22,000 employees that provides petroleum, chemical and highway construction products and services.
  • Thomas Nyhan of Rosemont, Illinois; employee organizations; general counsel of the Central States, Southeast and Southwest and Welfare and Pension Funds
  • Antoinette Pilzner of Detroit, Michigan; general public; a practicing employee benefits attorney with Butzel Long, a Michigan law firm.

Filling Unexpired Terms

Two new members were also appointed to fill one-year remaining unexpired terms. They are Donald Trone of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who will replace Shlomo Benartzi as the investment counseling field representative, and John Miller of Los Angeles as the employer organization (multi-employer plan) representative. Trone is president and founder of the non-profit Foundation for Fiduciary Studies affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh.

“These seven distinguished individuals bring a wealth of experience and expertise in their respective fields,” Chao said in a statement. “I know that they and the returning members of the Advisory Council will work hard to analyze and make recommendations about issues important to the security of workers’ benefits, while also supporting employers’ efforts to provide these benefits in our voluntary system.”

The group consists of 15 members appointed by the Labor Secretary to three-year terms. Five of the terms expire each November 14, the end of the council year. The members represent various stakeholders in the employee benefits world.

Named to the 2003 positions of chair and vice chair of the council, respectively, are Ronnie Sue Thierman of San Francisco and David Wray of Chicago. Thierman, an actuarial vice president at Aon Consulting Corporation, is beginning her third year on the council and last year served as vice chair. Wray, president of the Profit Sharing Council of America, is beginning his second year.