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Executive Staff and Presidential Appointees

Executive Staff and Presidential Appointees

Photo of Cathleen (Cathy) Kronopolus

Chief of Benefits Administration
Cathleen (Cathy) Kronopolus

Cathy Kronopolus is the Chief of Benefits Administration. She is responsible for planning and directing PBGC's benefits administration activities. Ms. Kronopolus joined PBGC in September 2012 to serve as the Director of the Workplace Solutions Department. Prior to joining PBGC, Ms. Kronopolus served in a number of executive positions at the General Services Administration, including the Regional Commissioner for the Public Buildings Service for the National Capital Region, the Assistant Commissioner for Real Property and Asset Management, the Chief of Staff for the Public Buildings Service and the Acting Chief of Staff for GSA during the last Administration transition. Ms. Kronopolus began her federal career with the Environmental Protection Agency, where she served in a number of staff and management positions focused on protecting workers and the environment from possible exposures to licensed chemicals. Ms. Kronopolus holds a B.A. in Geological Sciences from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a Masters in Regional Planning from the University of Massachusetts.

Chief Financial Officer
Patricia Kelly

Patricia Kelly is the Chief Financial Officer at PBGC where, in addition to corporate wide responsibilities, she oversees the Financial Operations Department, Corporate Investment Department, and the Corporate Controls and Reviews Department. She joined the PBGC in November 2007 after serving as the CFO at the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Preceding that position, Ms. Kelly was the CFO and Budget Officer for the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation. Prior to her career as an accountant, Ms. Kelly worked at the Bureau of the Census as a statistician where she served in several positions. Her capstone position was the Assistant Division Chief in the Decennial Census, the largest peacetime operation of the United States government. Ms. Kelly has earned several prestigious awards over her Federal career including: AGA Elmer Staats Award for Life Time Achievement; Presidential Rank Award; USDA Chief Financial Officer's Summit Award; Department of Agriculture Secretary's Award; and Department of Commerce Bronze Medal. Ms. Kelly earned an MBA from American University, and an MA and BA from Pennsylvania State University. Ms. Kelly holds a CPA license, a Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) certification, and a Chartered Global Management Accountant certificate.

Photo of Robert Scherer

Chief Information Officer
Robert Scherer

Robert Scherer is Chief Information Officer. Mr. Scherer began his Government career with the U.S. Secret Service in 1986. While at the Secret Service, he served in a series of progressively responsible positions in application development, database administration, and IT infrastructure support. Mr. Scherer left the Secret Service in 2001, where he was the Assistant Division Chief for IT Infrastructure, to become the Deputy Chief Information Officer at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. During his tenure at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, he was responsible for the day-to-day management of the IT program and successfully led efforts to establish Capital Planning and Investment Control, Configuration Management, and IT Security and Enterprise Architecture programs. He also developed a cadre of certified project management professionals. While at the National Transportation Safety Board—where he served until 2015—Mr. Scherer was responsible for closing significant long-term audit findings and instrumental in improving IT business processes. Mr. Scherer holds a MBA in Information Systems from George Washington University and is a graduate of the National Defense University's Chief Information Officer and Advanced Management Programs.

Photo of Alice Maroni

Chief Management Officer
Alice Maroni

Alice Maroni is Chief Management Officer. She came to PBGC in May 2011 after ten years at the Smithsonian Institution where she served as Chief Financial Officer, with responsibility for the Institution's financial integrity, including budgeting and contracting services. Before joining the Smithsonian, Ms. Maroni was Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller). In that capacity, she advised the Pentagon leadership on all budgetary and fiscal matters and management improvement programs. On a day-to-day basis, she directed the justification of the budget to Congress, managed departmental negotiations on the budget in the inter-agency process, and oversaw the execution of the annual budget. On an interim basis, she served as a Special Assistant to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense, functioning as the Department's chief of staff. Prior to her tour in the Pentagon, Ms. Maroni was a professional staff member of the House Armed Services Committee, advising and assisting the Chairman and other committee members on defense budget, financial, and economic issues. Before joining the committee staff, she worked in the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division of the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress. Ms. Maroni graduated from Mount Holyoke College and earned a masters degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. She is also a graduate of the National War College. Ms. Maroni is a recipient of the Distinguished Federal Leadership Award given by the Association of Government Accountants. She is a certified Government Financial Manager and a member of both the Association of Government Accountants and the American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC), serving as the National President of ASMC from May 1995 to May 1996.

Photo of Karen Morris

Chief of Negotiations and Restructuring
Karen Morris

Karen Morris is the Chief of Negotiations & Restructuring, where she directs activities of the departments and divisions of the Office of Negotiations & Restructuring, which includes ensuring the quality of representation on pension insurance program activities in such areas as early warning and risk management, compliance and enforcement, financial analysis and negotiations, standard termination processing, and multiemployer plan program activities.  Ms. Morris previously served as Deputy Chief Counsel in PBGC's Office of the Chief Counsel, where she led several major lawsuits arising from M&A transactions, and directed PBGC's legal work in major bankruptcy cases.

Ms. Morris received her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, where she served as an editor of the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, and her Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Maryland.

Photo of Ann Orr

Chief of Staff
Ann Orr

Ann Orr is Chief of Staff. Ms. Orr's prior government service includes eight years at the National Endowment for the Humanities where she was Chief of Staff. In her tenure at NEH, Ms. Orr successfully fought off efforts to eliminate the agency. She also created programming to engage the general public in humanities disciplines such as history, English and philosophy. Ms. Orr was also a professional staff member on the predecessor to the Senate HELP Committee. During her ten years of service on the now Senate HELP Committee she worked to enact legislation in elementary and secondary education and vocational education. She also worked on titles of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 and the Omnibus Drug Act. In addition to her stints in government, she was the executive director of two foundations. Ms. Orr was the Executive Director of the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation and Executive Director of the National Trust for the Humanities. Ms. Orr holds a B.A. from Yale University. 


Director of Equal Employment Opportunity
Brenecia Watson

Brenecia Watson is director of Equal Employment Opportunity. Ms. Watson supports agency efforts to protect America’s pensions by promoting the creation of a model EEO program based on equal employment opportunity, diversity and inclusion. She oversees PBGC EEO programs, directing and reporting on affirmative employment, EEO training initiatives, conflict resolution and EEO complaint processing. She reports directly to the PBGC director. She came to PBGC in June 2016 after serving as the EEO director at the Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground. Prior to that she was deployed to Bagram, Afghanistan, in 2010-2012 as an EEO officer. Ms. Watson was selected by the Department of the Army to be an equal opportunity advisor in 1998. She was a Distinguished Honor Graduate of the Department of Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute. She completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in human resource administration from St. Leo University, Florida, and a dual Master of Arts degree in human resource development and management from Webster University, Missouri. As an EEO professional, Ms. Watson deployed to Kuwait and Afghanistan in support of Operation New Dawn, where she spearheaded efforts to stand up a sexual harassment and assault response and prevention program, provided EEO training, alternative dispute resolution, complaint processing and advisory services. Ms. Watson completed her 22-year career with the Army as a noncommissioned officer, retiring in 2005 having participated in the Persian Gulf War, and the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Photo of Judith Starr

General Counsel
Judith Starr

Judith Starr is General Counsel. She came to PBGC in July 2005 from the Department of the Treasury, where she served as chief counsel of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network with responsibility for administering the Bank Secrecy Act. In that position, she oversaw the creation of information-sharing mechanisms among government entities and the financial services industry, and the expansion of suspicious-activity reporting and anti-money laundering requirements. Prior to that, she was assistant chief litigation counsel in the Securities and Exchange Commission's Division of Enforcement. Ms. Starr also served as a special prosecutor for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. She has published a number of articles on both securities and bankruptcy law, and is a recipient of the SEC's Stanley Sporkin Award for outstanding contributions to SEC enforcement. Ms. Starr began her legal career as a clerk to Judge William Schwarzer of the U.S. District Court for Northern California. Before entering government service, she was a commercial litigator in private practice in Los Angeles. Ms. Starr received her juris doctor from Harvard Law School, where she served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review, and her bachelor of arts from the College of William and Mary.

Photo of Constance Donovan

Participant and Plan Sponsor Advocate
Constance Donovan

Constance Donovan is the Participant and Plan Sponsor Advocate. The position was created when the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) was signed into law on July 6, 2012. The PBGC Board selected Ms. Donovan to serve as a liaison between the Corporation and participants and plan sponsors and to advocate on behalf of retirees. Prior to joining PBGC in December 2013, Ms. Donovan served as a pension counsel in the Office of the General Counsel at the Department of the Treasury. Previously, Ms. Donovan worked with PBGC during her tenure at the Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration. While there, Ms. Donovan coordinated daily activities between PBGC's board agencies comprised of the Departments of Labor, Treasury, and Commerce, and PBGC staff to assist in the Board's oversight functions. Ms. Donovan also served as executive director and general counsel to several prominent public pension plans. She began her career in business with NCR Corporation where she assumed increasing management and leadership responsibilities within the company. Ms. Donovan earned her LL.M. in Taxation from the Georgetown University Law Center, her J.D. degree from the American University Washington College of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts from Boston College.