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Washington

PBGC director’s confirmation hearing set for Sept. 27

President Donald Turmp nominated Gordon Hartogensis to lead the PBGC in May.

Gordon Hartogensis' nomination to serve as director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. will be considered Sept. 27 by the Senate Finance Committee.

If confirmed, Mr. Hartogensis would replace W. Thomas Reeder Jr., who was nominated by Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in October 2015.

The White House said in a statement that Mr. Hartogensis is an investor and technology sector leader in software development, with experience managing financial equities, bonds and private placements. He currently serves as director of a family trust. He co-founded Auric Technology LLC, a company that develops customer relationship management software. He is also Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao's brother-in-law.

The decision to replace Mr. Reeder, whose term ends in 2020, has been questioned by some pension experts and members of Congress concerned about Mr. Hartogensis' lack of pension expertise.

In a May 24 letter to Mr. Trump, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, asked for an explanation of the decision to replace Mr. Reeder, who has been credited with efforts to deal with a multiemployer pension plan crisis, and has overseen improvements to the single-employer program. The nomination falls under the jurisdiction of both committees.

"In light of your administration's pattern of politically motivated and ethically questionable personnel decisions, the decision to replace Mr. Reeder, who has decades of experience working on pensions and other employee benefit issues, raises serious concerns. We are troubled by this unexpected and seemingly unnecessary change in the agency's leadership, particularly as the country faces a multiemployer pension crisis," the senators wrote.

Ms. Murray said in an email Friday: "We owe our workers and retirees a thorough vetting of Mr. Hartogensis' experience so we can be sure he is qualified to navigate the complex challenges facing traditional pension plans today. I hope my Republican colleagues on the HELP Committee will work with us to hold a hearing so we can give this position the attention it deserves."

Mr. Reeder will continue to serve as director during the confirmation process.