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The 2015 Pension 40: Robert O’Keef

No. 24 Robert O’Keef, Treasurer / Motorola Solutions

Robert O’Keef
Treasurer / Motorola Solutions
Last year’s rank: Not ranked

In 2012, when Robert O’Keef took on the job of treasurer at Motorola Solutions, he realized the data and telecommunications company had to resolve its pension deficit problem. “I grew up in the GM treasurer’s office,” says O’Keef, who worked at the automaker for nearly a decade. “I grew up very familiar with the issues” of managing a company with an outsize defined benefit pension plan. The former General Motors Corp. spent years grappling with a mounting pension problem before filing for bankruptcy in 2009. In 2011, Motorola, which had closed its pension to new employees in 2008, split in two, with the renamed Motorola Solutions spinning off the cell phone business as Motorola Mobility. For Motorola Solutions and its investors, including activist hedge fund manager ValueAct Capital, which owns a 10 percent stake, the balance-sheet and liability challenges were relatively unknown at the time of the spin-off, with the company supporting accrued pension liabilities with less revenue. O’Keef, 45, believed the best approach was for Motorola Solutions to move a significant portion of the $11 billion pension liability off its balance sheet. In September 2014 the company announced that Prudential Financial had agreed to take on $3.2 billion of the pension obligation; Motorola Solutions itself raised $1.1 billion to pay into the pension plan. The company offered lump-sum payments to 320,000 beneficiaries, with the overall payout capped at $1 billion. O’Keef worked with a team that included Morgan Stanley’s Caitlin Long (No. 25), Prudential’s Amy Kessler (No. 39) and Aon Hewitt’s Ari Jacobs to execute the transaction, which was completed in less than four months. Today the company’s pension obligations stand at some $6.5 billion, about 75 percent funded. O’Keef has become an evangelist for the risk transfer movement, helping to “deliver the playbook” to other companies struggling with their pensions.

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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