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News & Policy

Director Steven A. Kandarian Announces Departure

January 07, 2004

Executive Director Steven A. Kandarian announced today that after more than two years as head of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, he is leaving the agency next month to devote more time to his family.

"It has been an honor to serve the Secretary of Labor and the President during this challenging period for the PBGC," Kandarian said. "As I head home to spend time with my wife and three young children, I am confident that the Administration's pension reforms will strengthen the defined benefit pension system and the pension insurance program that stands behind it. I also want to thank the hard-working staff of the PBGC. Their dedication these past two years has enabled the agency to assume responsibility for the pensions of an additional 400,000 workers and retirees while setting new standards for customer service."

As Executive Director, Kandarian spent his weeks in Washington and commuted home to Boston on weekends to be with his wife, Stephanie, and his three children: Jack, 11; Molly, 8; and Emily, 7.

Kandarian was appointed to head the PBGC on Dec. 2, 2001, by Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao, who serves as Chairman of the agency's Board of Directors. The other members of the PBGC Board are Treasury Secretary John W. Snow and Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans. The PBGC Board and Executive Director also work closely with the National Economic Council under Director Stephen Friedman.

"Steve Kandarian has provided invaluable service to the 44 million Americans whose pensions are insured by the PBGC, during a difficult time in our economy which posed unique challenges for the agency," said Chao. "As Executive Director, he was a prudent manager and an effective champion of this Administration's efforts to strengthen the nation's private pension system through responsible reform. We wish him and his family all the best."

"Steve Kandarian has led the PBGC through a crucial time," said Snow. "By helping to focus the discussion on important reforms that will allow the PBGC to fulfill its vital role today and into the future, he has reinforced that promises made to America's pensioners will be promises kept."

"Under Steve Kandarian's management, the PBGC has increased its productivity and strengthened its customer service, all while managing the largest caseload in its history," said Evans. "The defined benefit pension system and its stakeholders have been extraordinarily well served by Steve's effective leadership, clear vision and hard work."

"Steve Kandarian took the reins of PBGC at a time when market conditions were straining America's defined benefit pensions, and he provided prudence and sound judgment," said Friedman. "He's been an energetic guardian of the system, and of the interests of American workers whose retirement prospects depend on sound pension funding."

Among Kandarian's accomplishments during his tenure:

  • Making the public case for comprehensive reform of the pension funding rules to put the defined benefit system and the PBGC on a sound financial footing.

  • Negotiating agreements with pension plan sponsors and asset purchasers to ensure that the pension insurance program's financial interests were protected.

  • Overseeing a reorganization of the Corporation's departments and functions to ensure better accountability and service to participants.

  • Creating the position of Chief Technology Officer to conduct an agency-wide upgrade of the PBGC's information technology.

Before joining the PBGC, Kandarian had more than 20 years of experience in the private sector as an investment banker and as the founder and managing director of a private equity partnership. He plans to return to the private sector.

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PBGC No. 04-19