Almost two years after merging SAG-AFTRA still haven’t melded their pension and health plans, but the SAG Plan now has a new CEO. Michael Estrada, former Executive Director, Investments and Finance, will take over the Screen Actors Guild-Producers Pension & Health Plans “effective immediately,” SAG-PPHP said today. The scandal-plagued plans saw Christopher Dowdell announced last year he was exiting the CEO gig after just more than a year in the job. The former COO stepped in after previous controversial CEO Bruce Dow exited in April 2012. Both SAG and AFTRA’s separate plans are expected to be a major topic of discussion in the union’s upcoming negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers over a new 3-year contract. SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP have not yet set a start date for those talks, but the current contract expires June 30 — the same day as the DGA, who struck their new deal with the producers late last year.
On December 15, SAG-AFTRA that it was going to begin “the first steps” to partially merging the plans this summer but typically gave almost no details. While we wait for that, here’s today’s SAG-PPHP release:
SAG Pension & Health Plan Rocked By Lawsuit: Targets CEO Bruce Dow
Feds Probing SAG P&H Embezzlements/Cover-Ups Allegations
Los Angeles, CA, Feb. 5, 2014 -The Screen Actors Guild – Producers Pension & Health Plans (SAG-PPHP) today announced the appointment of Michael Estrada to Chief Executive Officer effective immediately. Mr. Estrada will replace Christopher Dowdell who announced his plans to retire last year after 24 years with the Plans.
“The decision to appoint Michael Estrada to CEO followed an exhaustive search conducted by Korn/Ferry International and a selection committee appointed by the Board of Trustees of SAG-PPHP,” said David White, national executive director, SAG-AFTRA and Chairman of the SAG-PPHP Board of Trustees. “Mr. Estrada’s track record with the Plans makes him the ideal candidate to guide the organization’s future and we are thrilled that he has accepted this position,” White finished.
Mr. Estrada joined the Plans in 2008 as Director of Investments and shortly after was appointed Executive Director, Investments, a position he held until 2010. Most recently he served as Executive Director, Investments and Finance, where he managed a total of 45 staff and led efforts to reduce operating costs and improve internal financial controls. Serving in this role, he successfully guided the Trustees of the Investment Committee and the Plans’ investment consultants and managers in the oversight of the Pension Plan’s $3 billion investment portfolio and the Health Plan’s $300 million investment portfolio. He was also responsible for working with the Trustees of the Administration Committee in presenting the annual operating budget, and with the Plans’ audit firm on the annual audit and tax filings, as well as working actively with legal counsel to manage the Plans’ relationship with government oversight bodies. In 2012, he led efforts to successfully reduce administrative expenses by 8.4 percent ($2.4 million) compared to peak expenses in 2010. Currently, he also serves as the CEO of the SAG – Producers Industry Advancement & Cooperative Fund (IACF), and is responsible for oversight of all aspects of the IACF’s day-to-day operations.
Prior to joining the Plans, he worked for Merrill Lynch & Co. and eMind LLC, a start-up, web-based compliance management software company for the accounting, banking, insurance and securities industries. In addition to an undergraduate degree in Business Administration, Mr. Estrada received his Master’s in Business Administration from the Crowell School of Business at Biola University.