The next chief executive of The Pension Boards-United Church of Christ, Inc., will bring more than three decades of financial, investment, and legal experience to lead the ministry. Brian R. Bodager, a banking executive and attorney, takes office July 1 as Pension Boards president and CEO, confirmed by the PBUCC Board of Trustees during its spring meeting March 27-28.
The announcement concludes a 15-month long nationwide search to identify a candidate with the skills, expertise, and commitment to the UCC needed to lead the Pension Boards in its service to the church. Bodager succeeds current president, Michael A. Downs, who concludes his service to the Pension Boards after General Synod 30.
"We are very grateful that our efforts brought forth such a talented new CEO," said trustee George L. Ochs, who chaired the search committee.
Bodager is a long-time member of Union Congregational UCC in Green Bay, Wis., and a native of Ohio. He received his undergraduate degree from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, and his J.D. and M.B.A. degrees from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law and the Weatherhead School of Management.
Bodager has been a member of the PBUCC Board of Trustees since 2003, served on the actuarial, executive, and personnel committees, and chaired the Eligibility and Enterprise Risk Management Committees.
"Brian Bodager brings to the Pension Boards executive management experience as well as in-depth knowledge of our benefit programs," said Dan J. Carwile, trustee chair. "As a UCC member and person familiar with the church, he will relate well with all our constituencies."
In 1992, Bodager joined Wisconsin-based Associated Banc-Corp, a publicly-traded bank holding company, where he was responsible for general legal affairs, compliance, security, purchasing, and facilities. He also was engaged in the corporate development activities of the company, including mergers and acquisitions. During his 20-year tenure, he helped grow Associated Banc-Corp's assets from $1 billion to more than $20 billion. Since 2012, he has served as a principal for Performance Sciences, LLC, a Wisconsin-based early-stage business consulting and strategic planning firm.
The Pension Boards — which traces its history to 1914 — offers pension, disability, health, dental, death, and survivor benefit programs to active and retired UCC clergy and lay employees.
The search process identified more than 160 candidates, and eight finalists were interviewed over a three-month period from November 2014 to February 2015. The search committee's recommendation was presented to the full board for approval on Friday, March 27.