CERS, KRS Chief Executive Officers in Place

FRANKFORT, KY (July 15, 2021): The County Employees Retirement System (CERS) and Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS) have named their new Chief Executive Officers. Ed Owens III, a former community and government affairs specialist at Fifth Third Bank and a former senior regulator at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, has been named CERS’ new CEO. John Chilton, a former Kentucky State Budget Director and member of the previous Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees, has been named the KRS CEO.

The CEO position is mandated by House Bill 484 (2020), which created legislation separating 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.

Mr. Owens was selected following a Request for Proposals process that yielded 167 applicants. His appointment is retroactive to July 1.

Most recently, Mr. Owens has been a consultant for Project Golden Eagle, a group of African-American businessmen seeking to acquire a publicly-traded middle-market company. He also consulted with litigation attorneys regarding banking issues and regulations and assists startup and early-stage companies with establishing corporate governance protocols, banking relationships, and additional funding opportunities. Prior to that, he was a senior vice president at Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati, where he led both community and governmental affairs efforts. Mr. Owens also worked as a senior examiner at the Cleveland Fed, where he communicated Reserve Bank findings to corporate boards of directors and executive management, conducted fair Lending and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) investigations, and consulted with large bank members on strengthening risk management protocols and increasing net operating income.

In addition, he previously worked as a trial attorney at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and was an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney with the Fayette County Attorney’s Office. He earned his law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law, and prior to that his Bachelor’s in Marketing from UK.

“Mr. 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. “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.”

CERS Trustee William O’Mara said Mr. Owens’ experience as a board member for a not-for-profit organization, his government relations work and his time at the Cleveland Fed “bring a strong skill set to the CEO role. We look forward to working with Mr. Owens as the new CERS Board looks to enhance good governance and transparency.”

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

At KRS, Mr. Chilton is a familiar face, having served on the previous KRS board since being appointed by former Governor Matt Bevin in 2016. He resigned from the newly constituted KRS board in May to take the CEO role on a one-year contract.

Mr. Chilton is the former State Budget Director and former member of the Public Pension Oversight Board. He has more than 40 years of experience as a Certified Public Accountant serving large and small private businesses. He is the co-founder of Mountjoy Chilton Medley LLP, a regional accounting firm. His focus has been on domestic and international income and other taxes, as well as business valuation and business acquisition, disposition, and reorganization. He graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Accounting. His credentials include CPA, Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), and Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA).

“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,” Mr. Chilton said.

KRS Board Chair Keith Peercy added, “John Chilton has served the Commonwealth well as State Budget Director, Kentucky Retirement Systems Trustee and Public Pension Oversight Board member. His extensive experience in both the public and private sectors will undoubtedly make his transition to KRS CEO seamless. We look forward to working with him in the coming year.”

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The Kentucky Public Pensions Authority is responsible for the investment of funds and administration of pension and health insurance benefits for over 394,000 active and retired state and local government employees, state police officers, and nonteaching staff of local school boards and regional universities.

Visit our website at https://kyret.ky.gov