Monday, November 05, 2007

Damon Asbury to retire

From STRS, November 5, 2007

Dr. Damon F. Asbury announced today that he will retire from his position as executive director of the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (STRS Ohio) when his current contract ends on June 30, 2008.

In announcing his decision, Asbury said, "As I near the completion of almost five years as STRS Ohio's executive director, I am looking forward to retiring and exploring new opportunities. During my more than 40 years of service in the public arena, I most appreciate that my life has been blessed by so many friends, colleagues and acquaintances during that period. The opportunities and challenges afforded to me have been deeply rewarding.

"My most recent opportunity to serve as STRS Ohio's executive director has been a privilege and a professional capstone. The condition of STRS Ohio is sound and this is a very good time for the Retirement Board to initiate a search for a qualified successor.

- STRS Ohio assets are at an all-time high level, approaching $80 billion;

- The pension fund's actuarial condition is much improved - it is 83% prefunded and the amortization period is 26 years;

- Legislation in the form of H.B. 315 has been introduced to create a dedicated revenue stream for retiree health care;

- A highly skilled staff, dedicated to member service and benefits, is on board;

- We are led by a diverse and committed Retirement Board; and

- Member trust and confidence remains at high levels."

Asbury began his career at STRS Ohio in July 2000 when he was designated deputy executive director -- Administration. He officially took over that position in January 2001. In August 2003 the Retirement Board asked him to serve as interim executive director; then chose him to be STRS Ohio's eighth executive director in February 2004. Prior to coming to STRS Ohio, Asbury served as the superintendent of the Worthington City Schools from 1991-2000; he was with the Columbus City Schools from 1967-1991.

Jeffrey Chapman, chair of the State Teachers Retirement Board, noted, "My fellow board colleagues and I are extremely grateful for the outstanding leadership Dr. Asbury has provided to this system and his commitment to serving our members. His door is always open and all constituents are treated with respect. He believes in the mission of this system and has never wavered from it in his work with this board, active and retired teachers, STRS Ohio associates and legislators."

A board committee has been appointed to make a recommendation regarding an executive search firm to assist the Retirement Board in choosing Asbury's replacement. The members of the committee are: Jeffrey Chapman, who is serving as the chair, Craig Brooks, Mary Ann Quilter Cervantes, John Lazares and Mark Meuser. The committee will make a recommendation to the board at its December 2007 meeting.

"We appreciate that our membership and STRS Ohio associates will have an interest in providing input to this national search," Chapman said. "We will be relying on counsel from our chosen search firm as how to facilitate that input so that it has a meaningful and appropriate place in the process. Further, we have no limitations to the search. All qualified candidates will be welcome to apply."

The board plans to have a new executive director named by June 30, 2008.

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