Strauss to Chair PBGC Advisory Committee

August 11, 2009 ( - President Obama has appointed David M. Strauss as chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).

According to the announcement, Strauss served as executive director of the nation’s private pension insurer from 1997 to 2001. “During this crucial time for the agency, we are pleased that once again the PBGC will have the benefit of David’s experience,” said Vince Snowbarger, acting director of the PBGC. “We look forward to working with him in his new role as chairman of the Advisory Committee.”

The PBGC Advisory Committee carries out several specific responsibilities outlined by ERISA, including advising on PBGC investment policies and procedures, the trusteeship of terminated plans, and other matters as determined by the PBGC.

Strauss will represent the interests of the general public on the Advisory Committee in a term that ends February 19, 2012. He replaces outgoing chairman R. Todd Gardenhire, who will remain a committee member until February 19, 2010.

Prior Experience

From 1994 to 1997, Strauss was deputy chief of staff to then-Vice President Al Gore. In that position, he held a management role, developed policy options and advised the vice president on economic and domestic policy issues including wage and workplace protection, retirement security, health care, welfare, and trade. He also served as principal liaison for the vice president to governors, U.S. senators, members of congress, mayors, and trade union officials.

Before that he served on Capitol Hill as chief of staff to Senator John Breaux (D-Louisiana) and Senator Quentin N. Burdick (D-North Dakota). Most recently, Strauss was chairman of the North Dakota Democratic Non-Partisan League Party, a post he left July 31 in order to take up his Advisory Committee duties.

The PBGC is a federal corporation created under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). It currently guarantees payment of basic pension benefits earned by 44 million American workers and retirees participating in over 29,000 private-sector defined benefit pension plans. Its operations are financed largely by insurance premiums paid by companies that sponsor pension plans and by investment returns.