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The 2015 Pension 40: Joshua Gotbaum

No. 15 Joshua Gotbaum, Guest Scholar, Economic Studies Program / Brookings Institution

Joshua Gotbaum
Guest Scholar, Economic Studies Program / Brookings Institution
Last year: Not ranked

Joshua Gotbaum was absent from the 2014 Pension 40 ranking after stepping down after four years running the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. Now settled in a new role as a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, the 64-year-old Gotbaum — son of Victor Gotbaum, a legendary New York labor leader, and stepson of Betsy Gotbaum, a two-term New York City public advocate — is back with gusto. Under his tenure the PBGC championed the cause of defined benefit plans and retirement security, and pragmatic reform remains his calling card. Since leaving, Gotbaum, who suffered minor injuries on the Amtrak train that derailed outside Philadelphia in May, has continued both his public pronouncements and his behind-the-scenes work. He has had a hand in three major policy initiatives to come out of the administration in the past 12 months: The Kline-Miller Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014; Department of Labor guidance opening the door to state-run retirement programs; and DoL guidance clarifying how ERISA fiduciaries should handle environmental, social responsibility and corporate governance factors. He says he “pushed” for state retirement accounts, the guidance on ESG and steps to try to save struggling union pension plans. “I helped a variety of groups make their case,” he says. “I’m very happy that all three happened.” The former investment banker, who has served in every Democratic administration going back to Jimmy Carter’s, recognizes that more work remains. In September he and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (No. 28), among others, were appointed to the Commission on Maryland Retirement Security and Savings to design a retirement savings plan for workers at Maryland companies that don’t offer pension or savings benefits.

The 2015 Pension 40

1. Bruce Rauner
2. John & Laura Arnold
Laura and John Arnold Foundation
3. Chris Christie
New Jersey
4. Randi Weingarten
AmericanFederation of Teachers
5. Phyllis Borzi
U.S. Department of Labor
6. Kevin de León
7. Alejandro García Padilla
Commonwealth ofPuerto Rico
8. Laurence Fink
9. Rahm Emanuel
10. Sean McGarvey
North AmericanBuilding Trades Unions
11. John Kline
12. J. Mark Iwry
U.S. TreasuryDepartment
13. Damon Silvers
14. Jeffrey Immelt
General Electric Co.
15. Joshua Gotbaum
Brookings Institution
16. Robin Diamonte
United Technologies Corp.
17. Mark Mullet
18. Terry O'Sullivan
Laborers' International Union of North America
19. Raymond Dalio
Bridgewater Associates
20. Ted Wheeler
21. Thomas Nyhan
Central States Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund
22. Karen Ferguson & Karen Friedman
Pensions Rights Center
23. Randy DeFrehn
National Coordinating Committee forMultiemployer Plans
24. Robert O'Keef
Motorola Solutions
25. Caitlin Long
Morgan Stanley
26. Kenneth Feinberg
The Law Offices of Kenneth R. Feinberg
27. Orrin Hatch
28. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
Center for Retirement Initiatives, Georgetown University
29. Ian Lanoff
Groom Law Group
30. Joshua Rauh
Stanford Graduate School of Business
31. Ted Eliopoulos
California Public Employees' Retirement System
32. Edward (Ted) Siedle
Benchmark Financial Services
33. Teresa Ghilarducci
New School for Social Research
34. Denise Nappier
35. W. Thomas Reeder Jr.
Pension BenefitGuaranty Corp.
36. Hank Kim
National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems
37. Paul Singer
Elliott Management Corp.
38. Bailey Childers
National PublicPension Coalition
39. Amy Kessler
Prudential Financial
40. Judy Mares
U.S. Labor Department

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