Preston Rutledge is stepping down next month from his post as assistant secretary of labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration.
His last day will be May 31, the Department of Labor announced Friday. During his team at EBSA, Mr. Rutledge has “brought greater security to employees’ retirement and health-care plans, and helped small businesses extend health-care and retirement benefits to their workers,” Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said in statement. “His past 2½ years at the Labor Department are a fitting capstone on an exceptional 25 years in government service. We will miss his counsel and wish him all the best.”
After 25 years of public service, he felt it was time to leave the federal government, a source familiar with Mr. Rutledge’s thinking said. He plans to remain active in employee benefits policy both domestically and internationally, the source added.
Mr. Rutledge has led EBSA since his Senate confirmation in December 2017. He previously served as tax and benefits counsel for the Senate Finance Committee since 2011. Before joining the Republican staff, he worked with the Internal Revenue Service’s tax exempt and government entities division in Washington. He has also worked in private practice as an employee benefits counselor and litigator.
During his tenure at EBSA, Mr. Rutledge has overseen the implementation of the department’s association retirement plan rule, which outlines the conditions groups or associations must meet to sponsor multiple employer plans, and its soon-to-be finalized electronic disclosure safe harbor, which would permit default electronic delivery of retirement plan disclosures.
Michael Kreps, a principal at Groom Law Group, who previously served as the senior pensions and employment counsel for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and worked with Mr. Rutledge on many issues, said in an email that “Preston is a dedicated public servant, and his legacy at the department includes important work on pooled retirement plans and auto portability.”
Mr. Kreps represents Retirement Clearinghouse LLC, which in 2019 received the green light from the Labor Department to expand its auto-portability program, which has a goal of significantly reducing plan leakage and missing participants.
Millions of Americans will “enjoy a more secure retirement because of Preston’s leadership and passion, said Susan Neely, president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers, in a statement.
“He was a champion of what became the SECURE Act from start to finish — first as a legislative architect in the Senate, and then at EBSA,” she noted, adding that Mr. Rutledge “also led the agency in getting expanded access to retirement savings, streamlined retirement plan administration and health plan expansion across the finish line.”