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President Names David Strauss to Chair PBGC Advisory Committee

August 11, 2009

WASHINGTON- President Obama has appointed David M. Strauss of Bismarck, N.D., as chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Strauss served as executive director of the PBGC 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."

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

Throughout his tenure as PBGC's executive director, Strauss presided over financial surpluses in both the single-employer and multiemployer insurance programs. Under his direction, the agency put top priority on its mission to promote defined benefit pension plans and on providing top-quality service to its customers.

From 1994 to 1997, Strauss was deputy chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore. In that position, he held a major overall 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 his tenure with the vice president, Strauss served on Capitol Hill as chief of staff to Senator John Breaux (D-La.) and Senator Quentin N. Burdick (D-N.D.).

In 1992, Strauss was named an Eastman Kodak Congressional Fellow, Senior Managers in Government Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He graduated magna cum laude from Moorhead State College with a Bachelor of Science in political science and secondary education. He also earned a Bachelor of Arts in sociology.

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. 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. The agency receives no funds from general tax revenues. Operations are financed largely by insurance premiums paid by companies that sponsor pension plans and by investment returns.

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.

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PBGC No. 09-51