Dallas Salisbury, the first and only head of the Employee Benefit Research Institute since the organization was launched in 1978, will relinquish that position at the end of 2015 and become EBRI's president emeritus.
Mr. Salisbury, in an interview Monday,said the change will enable him to spend more time with his family.
“Dallas is a fixture in Washington, he is hard to replace, and his leadership will be greatly missed,” Pamela French, chairman of EBRI's board of directors, said in a statement.
Aside from heading EBRI, Mr. Salisbury has served on numerous advisory groups and boards including the Department of Labor's ERISA Advisory Council and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.'s advisory committee.
Mr. Salisbury's tenure as EBRI president and CEO coincided with massive changes in the employee benefits arena. When Mr. Salisbury, then just 29, joined EBRI after holding various positions at the PBGC and the departments of Labor and Justice, corporate defined benefit plans were growing instead of shrinking, 401(k) plans had yet to be launched, “derisking” was not yet part of the pension lexicon, and COBRA referred to an animal, not an acronym for the 1986 federal health-care continuation law.
While relinquishing his position at the end of the year, Mr. Salisbury will continue with EBRI as president emeritus, where, among other things, he will speak at conferences.
Currently, EBRI has 148 members compared with its 13 founding members.
Ms. French is leading a search for a new CEO with members of the EBRI executive committee.
“It's hard to imagine any organization that is more identified with a specific individual than Dallas is with EBRI. He built that superb organization,” said American Benefits Council President James Klein. “At the same time, a real testament to what he has built is that they will continue to thrive. That is a big part of his legacy.”
“Washington is full of institutions that lobby government; Dallas created one that educates the nation,” said former PBGC Director Joshua Gotbaum, now a scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
“Since Dallas has frequently pointed out that his retirement planning includes the possibility of living to 100-plus, one hopes that his extraordinary combination of knowledge, experience, and judgment will remain available, not just to EBRI members, but to all who care about and need to understand employee benefits.”
P&I reporter Hazel Bradford contributed to this story.