CERS Hires CEO and General Counsel

For the first time since separation, the County Employees Retirement System (CERS) has a chief executive officer who is solely focused on the local pension system. Thursday, the CERS Board of Trustees voted to hire a CEO and general counsel.

In 2020, the Kentucky General Assembly passed House Bill 484, a KLC initiative that created independent governance of CERS within one administrative structure. The Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS) Board of Trustees continues to manage the Kentucky Employees Retirement System (KERS) and State Police Retirement System (SPRS.) Legislators passed House Bill 9 in the 2021 session, phase two of the separation initiative, to create separate statutory structures for the two pension systems.

The board’s CEO search ended with an offer to Ed Owens III of Lexington. Owens serves as senior vice president and director of government affairs for Fifth Third Bank. His resume also describes him as a consultant who has worked for five years with a group of African American businessmen “to acquire a publicly traded middle-market company that will become the first publicly traded minority-owned company.”

The board also voted to offer a contract to the Johnson, Bowman, Branco law firm to fulfil the general counsel role. Specifically, the board hired Joseph “Joe” Bowman, an attorney at the firm. He worked for KRS from 2009 to 2019, including time as KRS assistant general counsel.