DOL Secretary Scalia Confirms EBSA Head Rutledge’s Departure

Rutledge will remain with the Department of Labor through the end of May, at which time he will have been in the post of assistant secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration for 2 1/2 years.

United States Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia has confirmed news reports that Preston Rutledge will be stepping down from the role of assistant secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) on May 31.

Scalia confirmed the news in a brief statement published to the Department of Labor (DOL)’s website.

“As assistant secretary for EBSA, Preston Rutledge brought greater security to employees’ retirement and health care plans, and helped small businesses extend health care and retirement benefits to their workers,” Scalia says. “His past 2 1/2 years at the Labor Department are a fitting capstone on an exceptional 25 years in government service. We will miss his counsel, and wish him all the best.”

Rutledge took the post as the head of EBSA back in December 2017, and since that time, he has operated largely out of the public eye, at least in part because the DOL and EBSA under the Trump administration have been more aggressive about cutting labor regulations rather than establishing new ones. At the time, Rutledge, as the former senior tax and benefits counsel on the Majority Tax Staff of the Senate Finance Committee and former top aide to Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, was expected to smoothly transition into the role.

Rutledge’s longstanding ties to the federal government, and particularly to a legislator known for being active on retirement and labor issues, had many in the retirement benefits industry looking cautiously forward to his tenure. Perhaps his most significant contribution was the role he played in undoing the Obama-era DOL fiduciary rule expansion. Another important development seen under Rutledge’s tenure was a reorganization of the structure of the EBSA in terms of what roles and responsibilities were assigned to political appointees versus career staffers.