Michael D. Kennedy Chairman, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board

by LP Green, II


Michael Kennedy currently serves as Chairman of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, the retirement plan for federal employees. He was nominated in 2010 by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate that same year. In 2011, President Obama designated Michael as Chairman.

The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board develops and establishes policies governing the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). During Michael’s tenure, the TSP has grown to more than $465 billion in assets. Not only is the TSP the largest retirement plan in the United States, it is the largest defined contribution plan in the world. Similar to 401(k) plans offered by many private employers, the TSP is a retirement plan for 4.7 million federal employees. During Michael’s tenure as Chairman, the TSP has experienced record participation rates among civilian employees and uniformed services members. Through his leadership, the TSP has introduced features such as auto-enrollment and a popular Roth option to help participants keep more of what they have earned. Michael has been very involved in the enhancement of the organization’s risk management and audit efforts as the plan has grown. He has also played a role in the organization’s long-term strategic planning efforts that include initiatives focused on improved customer service and stronger cyber-security measures. In 2014, Michael was recognized for his leadership by Sovereign Wealth Institute’s publication, Sovereign Wealth Quarterly, which ranked Michael as #5 on its list of the top 100 public investors globally. In 2014, Michael was reappointed by President Obama to another four-year term as Chairman.

Prior to joining the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, Michael served for 14 years as a Trustee at the Employees Retirement System of Georgia. During part of his tenure, he served as the Board Chair and Chairman of the Investment Committee. During his term as Chairman of the Investment Committee, he was involved in moving the plan into alternative investments, including private equity.

Michael Kennedy is a Senior Client Partner in the Atlanta office of Korn Ferry and a member of the firm’s Global Financial Services Market. He leads the firm’s efforts in the pension sector and has conducted senior level searches for the largest pension plans in the country, including CalPERS, CalSTRS, New York State Common and Teachers Retirement System of Texas. He has conducted Chief Investment Officer assignments for pension funds, endowments and foundations, Taft-Hartley plans and asset management organizations. He is also a co-leader of the firm’s diversity practice and has worked with numerous financial services organizations in the development and implementation of diversity recruiting efforts.

Prior to joining Korn Ferry, Michael’s career experience was in corporate finance and asset management. He previously worked in senior roles at General Electric Capital Corporation and Wachovia. He started his financial services career as an Equity Research Analyst at JP Morgan Investment Management Group.

Michael currently sits on the Board of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Foundation Investment Fund Board and also serves as a national Co-Chair of the UNC Capital Campaign. He previously served as Chairman of the UNC Board of Visitors. In addition to his UNC involvement, Michael has served on the Board of Trustees of the Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire. In the Atlanta community, he has been involved with the Communities- In-Schools program, and served in numerous leadership roles including Board Chair. He has also been involved in Leadership Atlanta, the Harvard Business Club of Atlanta and the Southern Venture Forum.

Michael earned a Master in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School. He received a Bachelor’s degree with highest honors in History and Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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