Michael Estrada Named to Head SAG Pension and Health Plans

He’s been serving as executive director of the plans’ investment portfolio and will guide efforts to merge them with AFTRA’s

The Screen Actors Guild’s Guild – Producers Pension & Health Plans on Wednesday announced the appointment of Michael Estrada as chief executive, replacing Christopher Dowdell, who retired  last year after 24 years with the plans.

Estrada has been serving as executive director, investments and finance and has been with the plan since 2008. He led efforts to reduce operating costs and improve internal financial controls and guided the trustees’ oversight of the pension plan’s $3 billion investment portfolio and the health plan’s $300 million investment portfolio.

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“Mr. Estrada’s track record with the plans makes him the ideal candidate to guide the organization’s future,” David White, national executive director, SAG-AFTRA and Chairman of the SAG-PPHP Board of Trustees, said in a statement. The appointment followed a search conducted by Korn/Ferry International and a selection committee appointed by the board of trustees of plan.

The SAG health plan covers about 40,000 participants and has assets of more than $2 billion, while the retirement plan pays pensions to an estimated 9,000 beneficiaries. In the wake of the 2012 merger, the National Board of Directors of SAG-AFTRA last July urged the combining of the two unions health and pension plans.

Dowdell, who has been serving as interim CEO, replaced Bruce Dow, longtime chief exec of the plans, in April, 2012. Dow was at the center of allegations made by Craig Simmons, former exec director of human resources, in a 2012 wrongful termination suit against the plans.