WASHINGTON, April 20, 2023 – Annette Guarisco Fildes, CEO of The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) since 2015, is retiring after building the organization into a powerful advocate for large employers on benefits issues at the federal, state, and local levels. She will remain as an advisor to ERIC.
Under Guarisco Fildes’ leadership, ERIC enhanced its federal advocacy program, expanded into state and local advocacy, and created the ERIC Legal Center to fight state and local mandates and measures that complicate the ability of nationwide employers to provide benefits uniformly to employees, regardless of where they live or work. During her tenure, ERIC led advocacy efforts for the large employer community, advancing their ability to provide health, retirement, paid leave, and other compensation and benefits to workers, retirees, and families across the country.
To complete this transition, ERIC President James Gelfand has been promoted to the additional position of Chief Executive Officer. As president and CEO, Gelfand will lead ERIC’s public policy and legal advocacy efforts, membership, strategic partnerships, and public affairs, and oversee all aspects of the organization.
“Annette set a high bar at ERIC, and the staff and I have been fortunate to work under her guidance and leadership,” said Gelfand. “She tirelessly sought to uphold the ERISA laws and has secured for member companies more flexibility, reduced costs, and simplified compliance efforts for running their benefit plans. Together we have built a team of public policy and legal experts who are well respected by lawmakers and regulators at all levels, and well positioned for continued success.
“Under Annette’s leadership, ERIC has successfully increased health care affordability and transparency, improved and expanded retirement plan options, and worked to simplify challenges related to state paid leave policies. These successes, and many more have delivered value to our member companies, their employees, and families.”
Guarisco Fildes joined ERIC in 2015 and was uniquely suited to lead ERIC given her legal, advocacy, and board experience in the public and private sectors, as well as her track record of legislative and regulatory successes. Prior to ERIC, she held senior positions with General Motors and Honeywell, where she led government relations efforts on public policies including tax, health care, labor, pensions, and other matters and served the GM Board of Directors as secretary of the board’s public policy committee.
She was also tax counsel to then-Senate Majority Leaders Bob Dole (R-KS) and Trent Lott (R-Miss.), and advisor to Administration officials when at the Internal Revenue Service Office of Chief Counsel. Over her varied career, Guarisco Fildes has counseled executives and corporations at the highest levels on complex public policy and legal matters, and directly represented their interests before policymakers.
Since 2016, Gelfand served as senior vice president and then executive vice president at ERIC, before he was elevated to president in 2022. Earlier in his career, from 2005-2007, he served as a member of ERIC’s health policy team.
Prior to returning to ERIC, Gelfand led the federal affairs team at the March of Dimes Foundation, where he successfully advanced policies critical to the health of women and children. Previously, he led health policy efforts at the U.S Chamber of Commerce and served as counsel to U.S. Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Tom Coburn (R-OK), covering an assortment of legislative issues.
Gelfand earned his J.D. at George Washington University Law School, and his undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Legal Studies at Northwestern University.
“Passing the mantle to James is reassuring and rewarding – knowing that ERIC and its members are in such good hands,” said Guarisco Fildes. “James and I have worked together for years to grow and bring prominence to ERIC among lawmakers and our member companies, as we’ve lobbied to protect and shape national and state benefit policies. With so many players seeking the attention of policymakers, ERIC’s voice is more critical than ever advocating exclusively for the interests of large employers that sponsor benefit plans for their nationwide workforces on the federal, state, and local levels.”
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