Kentucky Pension Systems Name New CEOs

John Chilton and Ed Owens III will helm KRS and CERS, respectively.

The Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS) and the state’s County Employees Retirement System (CERS) have named John Chilton and Ed Owens III, respectively, as the pension funds’ new CEOs.

John Chilton

Chilton is a former Kentucky state budget director and a former member of the Public Pension Oversight Board. He is a co-founder of accounting firm Mountjoy Chilton Medley LLP, and his focus has been on domestic and international income and other taxes, in addition to business valuation and business acquisition, disposition, and reorganization. He graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in accounting.

“I look forward to continuing my support of the retirement plans for Kentucky’s employees, as the changes resulting from the recent reorganization of the administration of the plans are implemented,” Chilton said in a statement.

Chilton also served on the previous KRS board after being appointed by then-Gov. Matt Bevin in 2016. He resigned from the newly constituted KRS board in May and has taken on the CEO role under a one-year contract.

“John Chilton has served the commonwealth well as state budget director, Kentucky Retirement Systems trustee and Public Pension Oversight Board member,” KRS Board Chair Keith Peercy said in a statement. “His extensive experience in both the public and private sectors will undoubtedly make his transition to KRS CEO seamless.”

Ed Owens III

Owens is a former senior vice president, community affairs, and senior vice president, government relations, at Fifth Third Bank, where he worked for more than nine years. He is also a former senior examiner at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and was chosen among a field of 167 applicants. His appointment is retroactive to July 1.

“Owens demonstrated his willingness to research CERS and the key issues facing the new board of trustees and our stakeholders,” CERS Board Chair Betty Pendergrass said in a statement. “He offered ideas and solutions during his interview to address those issues. I am delighted to have his skills, experience, and professionalism supporting the CERS Board of Trustees.”

Owens also previously worked as a trial attorney at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and was an assistant commonwealth’s attorney with the Fayette County Attorney’s Office. He earned a law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law and a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Kentucky.

“I am both humbled and excited to help Kentucky families secure their promised retirement benefits,” Owens said in a statement. “I will work hard for them.”

A Kentucky state law passed last year separated governance into three board systems: one to oversee the two plans for state employees and state police (KRS), another to oversee the county plans (CERS), and a third board to oversee the ongoing administration and investment management of the system, the Kentucky Public Pensions Authority (KPPA).

The move separated CERS from the Kentucky Employees Retirement System (KERS) and the State Police Retirement System (SPRS). KERS and SPRS are overseen by a nine-member KRS board, while CERS is overseen by a separate nine-member board. The boards have the power to appoint the CEO for their respective systems.

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