Karen Morris was named chief of negotiations and restructuring for the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the agency said Tuesday.
Ms. Morris, who currently serves as deputy chief counsel, has been with the PBGC since 1988 and served as acting head of the restructuring office for the past six months. Her predecessor, Sanford Rich, left the agency in January.
In her new role, “we are going to keep as many defined benefit plans as possible out there,” Ms. Morris said in an interview. “We are focused on what tools we have that we can use to help employers keep their pension plans, and on the multiemployer side, to support them to the extent that we can to avoid insolvency. We are using the tools we have to work with plans to try to find solutions.”
In a statement, PBGC Director W. Thomas Reeder Jr. praised Ms. Morris as a leader who “possesses an ideal combination of talent and energy,” and a deep knowledge of defined benefit pension plans, plan terminations, insurance principles and PBGC's operations and mission.
As deputy chief counsel, Ms. Morris has been directly involved in many agency actions, including major bankruptcy cases such as American Airlines, and has provided legal counsel for early warning program discussions with companies.
The office of negotiations and restructuring conducts actuarial, corporate engagement, financial analysis, multiemployer and standard termination functions. In recent years, the number of standard plan terminations and related audits has increased.