Joshua Gotbaum's confirmation as director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. could be held up by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who wants to urge the Obama administration to encourage General Motors Co. to meet pension obligations to Delphi Corp. retirees.
Mr. Brown and Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, “requested that the federal government, as a 60% shareholder in the new General Motors, bring GM to the negotiating table to work out a fair solution for the Delphi retirees,” according to a statement from Mr. Brown.
Mr. Gotbaum's nomination is pending approval from by Senate Finance Committee; his nomination was approved May 5 by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee by voice vote, said Bergen Kenny, committee spokeswoman. Mr. Brown is on the Senate HELP committee, but he could hold up the approval if the nomination reaches the full Senate for a vote.
When Delphi, spun off from GM in 1999, entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2005, “many long-term employees were forced into early retirement as part of the restructuring agreement,” the statement said. “Early retirement or supplemental benefits are not guaranteed by the (PBGC), and as a result, many of these Delphi retirees are at risk of losing a substantial percentage of their pension income.”
“The White House continues to work with senators as Mr. Gotbaum's confirmation moves forward,” Shin Inouye, administration spokesman, said in a statement. “He has the full confidence of the president to serve as the director of the (PBGC).” Mr. Inouye declined to comment on whether administration officials have had any discussions with Mr. Brown.
Scott H. Mulhauser, spokesman for the finance committee, couldn't be reached for comment. Lauren Kulik, spokeswoman for Mr. Brown and Julie Gibson, GM spokeswoman, also could not be reached for comment.
Mr. Gotbaum is an operating partner at private equity firm Blue Wolf Capital Management. Vince Snowbarger, PBGC deputy director of operations, is serving as its acting director.