Leadership

Trust oversight is provided by an 11-member committee, consisting of six independent members and five members appointed by the UAW. The Committee is responsible for designing and delivering benefits to eligible UAW retirees, surviving spouses and dependents. For more information on the Trust, visit the History page.

Below you can review the biographies of the Trust committee and leadership.

Committee Biographies

- CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE -

Robert Naftaly 

Robert Naftaly (Independent Trustee)

Robert Naftaly is chairman of the committee and a certified public accountant (CPA). Naftaly is the retired president and chief executive officer of PPOM, an independent operating subsidiary of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM). He also has held various leadership positions at BCBSM, including chief operating officer, executive vice president, and chief financial officer.

Naftaly served as the director of the Department of Management and Budget of the State of Michigan from 1983 to 1987. He has served on several boards including the Detroit Investment Fund, Walsh College, Meadowbrook Insurance Group, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maryland, and the Wayne State University Board of Governors.

- UAW TRUSTEES -

Ray Curry 

Ray Curry

Ray Curry was elected president of the UAW on June 28, 2021, by the International Executive Board upon the retirement of UAW President Rory L. Gamble. Previously, Curry served as UAW secretary-treasurer where he was instrumental in implementation of broad financial ethics reforms and oversight as part of the UAW’s Ethics Reforms Initiative. 

He was elected director of UAW Region 8 in June 2014, after serving four years as the region’s assistant director. As Region 8 director, Curry successfully secured new labor agreements with various parts suppliers. In July 2015, under his leadership, the region successfully organized the first gaming bargaining unit of Region 8 as part of a coalition of four other unions to represent the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, Maryland. In October 2017, the combined coalition reached its first individual collective bargaining agreement. The region also won an election for representation at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, in June 2018.

Curry joined the UAW in July of 1992 as a truck assembler at Freightliner Trucks in Mount Holly, North Carolina (now Daimler Trucks, NA) and later became a quality assurance inspector.

Curry is the 2017 recipient of the A. Philip Randolph Leon Lynch Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2017 recipient of the Tennessee State AFL-CIO Presidential Award, the 2018 recipient of the PR Latta Rank and File Award from the North Carolina AFL-CIO, as well as the 2019 National Newspaper Press Association’s National Leadership Award. He is a Silver Life member of the NAACP and a member of the national NAACP Board of Directors. Curry is an active member of numerous community and social organizations, including the Michigan State Democratic Party, American Legion Post 177 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Unique Masonic Lodge #85, Charlotte Consistory #35 and Rameses Temple #51 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Curry served three years on active duty in the U.S. Army and five years in the U.S. Army Reserve. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance and holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Alabama. 

 Chuck Browning

 

Chuck Browning

Chuck Browning is vice president of the UAW and director of the Ford Department. Browning was unanimously elected by the UAW International Executive Board and assumed the position on July 1, 2021.
 
Previously, Browning served as director of UAW Region 1A after being elected at the 37th Constitutional Convention in June 2018. He also served as an executive administrative assistant and administrative assistant to the president where he was responsible for collective bargaining, organizing, constitutional administration, and oversight of various departments under the direct jurisdiction of the president.
 
Browning was appointed to the staff in 2000 by UAW President Stephen P. Yokich as an international representative and assigned to the union’s Ford department where he performed numerous duties. 
 
Browning joined the UAW in 1987 and became a member of Local 3000 while working at the Mazda Plant in Flat Rock, Michigan. He held various positions including committeeman, bargaining committee, and plant chairman. 
  Terry Dittes

 

Terry Dittes

Terry Dittes became vice president of the UAW in January 2018 and was re-elected at the 37th Constitutional Convention in June 2018. As vice president, Dittes has directed the FCA, Agricultural Implement, Heavy Truck, General Dynamics, Gaming, and General Motors Departments.
 
Previously, Dittes was director of Region 9. He also held several appointed positions including Region 9 servicing staff representative and assistant director of the UAW Gaming Department, as well as elected positions as UAW Local 2177 committeeperson and chair of the shop committee.
 
Dittes was hired at the Fisher Body Plant in Trenton, New Jersey in 1978, and became a member of UAW Local 731. In 1980 he transferred to GM Parts in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, and became a member of amalgamated UAW Local 585. He later became a member of UAW Local 2177.

Dittes married his wife, Gail, in 1979 in Warwick, Rhode Island. They have six children: Melissa, Amy, Ryan, Kevin, Matthew and Teresa. They also have eight grandchildren: Dominick, Vincent, Gabrielle, Annabelle, Victoria, Ryan, Zachary and Violet, as well as two sons-in-law, Nick Esposito and Ryan Gordon, and three daughters-in-law, Lindsay Dittes, Carlie Dittes and Tiamarie Dittes. The entire Dittes family resides in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area.
Cindy Estrada 

Cindy Estrada

Cindy Estrada is serving her third four-year term as a UAW vice president. Estrada, an organizer, currently heads the UAW’s Fiat Chrysler Department and Women’s Department.

In 1995, Estrada helped organize workers at Mexican Industries in southwest Detroit, which resulted in one of the largest UAW victories for Spanish-speaking manufacturing workers. That accomplishment, along with other significant UAW organizing successes, led then-UAW President Stephen P. Yokich to appoint Estrada to the international's organizing staff in 2000.

Ten years later, Estrada was elected as vice president and the first Latina to serve as international officer. During her first term as vice president, she was responsible for directing the UAW Independents, Parts and Suppliers/Competitive Shop Department; Public Sector and Health Care Servicing Department and the UAW Women’s Department. She was re-elected in 2014, and was assigned to lead the UAW’s General Motors Department and Women’s Department.

Estrada earned her bachelor’s degree in education from University of Michigan.

Gerald Bantom

Gerald Bantom

Gerald Bantom retired from UAW staff in 2006 after fulfilling two terms as a vice president and director of the UAW National Ford Department. He previously served as director of UAW Region 1A, a post he was elected to in 1998.

As UAW Vice President, Bantom helped negotiate the precursor to the UAW Trust, sometimes called the “Dental VEBA,” in 2005.

In 2016, Bantom was one of six Martin Luther King Jr. honorees to be recognized at the 7th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy March. He is a life member of the NAACP, and is a member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.

- INDEPENDENT TRUSTEES -

Mark Anson 

Mark Anson

Mark Anson is chief executive officer and chief investment officer of the Commonfund and chairman of the board of Commonfund Capital Inc. and Commonfund Asset Management Company.

Previously, he was the president and chief investment officer for Bass Family Office, which was recognized as Family Office of the Year in 2014 and 2015. He was president of Nuveen Investments, a full-service asset management company with over $250 billion in assets under management. Anson also served as chief executive officer and chief investment officer for the British Telecom Pension Scheme (BTPS), the largest institutional investor in the U.K. with assets of £65 billion.

Anson was the CEO of Hermes Pensions Management in London, a £55 billion asset management company that is wholly owned by the BTPS. Prior to joining BTPS, he served as the chief investment officer of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the largest pension fund in the U.S. with over $300 billion in assets.

Mark has published over 100 investment articles in professional journals and has won three Best Paper Awards. He is also the author of five financial textbooks, including the Handbook of Alternative Assets, which is the primary textbook used for the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst program.

Anson earned the Chartered Financial Analyst, Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst, Certified Public Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant professional degrees; he is also a member of the Bar of the State of New York. He serves on the editorial board of MSCI-Barra, the board of the Northwestern University School of Law, the Toigo Foundation, and the board of the Chartered Alternative Investment Association.

Mark earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Chemistry from St. Olaf College, a Ph.D. and Master of Finance degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Business, and a Juris Doctorate from Northwestern University School of Law.

 
Teresa Ghilarducci 

Teresa Ghilarducci

Teresa Ghilarducci is a labor economist and nationally recognized expert in retirement security. An economics professor at The New School, Ghilarducci serves on the Bernard L. and Irene Schwartz Chair in economic policy analysis and directs the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA), which focuses on economic policy research and outreach. Ghilarducci joined the New School in 2008, after 25 years as a professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame and 10 years as director of the school’s Higgins Labor Research Center.

She was appointed twice by President Clinton to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Advisory Board. As an author of her most recent book, When I’m Sixty-Four: The Plot Against Pensions and the Plan to Save Them, she investigates the loss of pensions on older Americans and proposes a comprehensive system of reform. She frequently publishes her work in refereed journals, testifies before U.S. Congress, and is a media source to popular and online news outlets about pensions and labor economics.

Ghilarducci earned her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California-Berkeley.

David Baker Lewis 

David Baker Lewis

David Baker Lewis is chairman of Lewis & Munday, a Detroit based law firm. Lewis specializes in municipal finance with extensive experience in all aspects of municipal finance law. With more than four decades of experience in municipal finance, Lewis is widely respected as an expert in municipal bonds, including revenue bonds, general obligation bonds, certificated of participation, bond offerings, bond purchase agreements, special tax bonds, state revolving bond funds, cash-flow borrowings, industrial development bonds and performing due diligence.

Lewis is also a former board of director member of the National Association of Bond Lawyers and is former chairman of the National Association of Securities Professionals.

Lewis has served on the boards of numerous professional, educational and civic organizations. Particularly noteworthy is his service as a former assistant professor of law at the Detroit College of Law and former member and chairman of the board of trustees of Oakland University. Currently, Lewis serves as a member of the Kroger Company board of directors, STERIS Corporation board of directors and the board of directors of H&R Block. He is a former director of Comerica, Inc., TRW, Inc., LG&E Energy Corp., M.A. Hanna Company and Conrail.

Lewis received his Bachelor of Arts from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, majoring in business administration. He earned his Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and was awarded his Juris Doctorate from The University of Michigan Law School.

William Patterson 

William Patterson

William Patterson is the executive director of CtW Investment Group, an organization he established in 2006 under the auspices of Change to Win, a federation of North American unions representing 5 million members.

CtW affiliates sponsor Taft-Hartley pension and benefit funds with $200 billion in assets. Patterson works with funds to promote the interests of worker beneficiaries in the capital markets, specifically by leading shareholder initiatives to enhance corporate governance, accountability, and advocating for effective legislative and regulatory reform. Patterson’s investment work with unions and their pension funds dates to the 1980s, when he helped unions lead employee buyouts to retain manufacturing jobs.

Patterson has served as co-chair of the Council of Institutional Investors and on the World Bank’s Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) for the Global Corporate Governance Forum. In 2008, Directorship Magazine named him to the Directorship 100, as one of the most influential people in corporate governance.

Douglas Woll 

Douglas R. Woll, M.D., F.A.C.P.

Douglas Woll is a physician and fellow of the American College of Physicians (ACP). He is currently the chief strategy officer for BENCON LLC, a health care consulting company.

Woll brings expertise in benefit design, medical policy, clinical care delivery, provider reimbursement, medical management and quality improvement. His focus is on assuring that participants consistently receive medically-appropriate high quality health care services.

Woll has served as chief medical officer for several large health Plans in Michigan, such as Maxicare’s Independence Health Plan, SelectCare and Blue Care Network of Michigan.

 

Leadership Biographies

Debbie Rittenour 

Debbie Rittenour
Chief Executive Officer

Debbie Rittenour is chief executive officer of the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust.

Prior to joining the Trust, Rittenour was senior vice president of government programs at Capital BlueCross, an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association serving 21 counties in Central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley, and president of Vibra Health Plan, a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based health insurance company. In this capacity, she led all government program product lines including Medicare, individual and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

With more than 30 years of experience—mostly leading Medicare and Medicaid programs—Rittenour has also held leadership positions at Florida Blue, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and BlueCross and BlueShield of Tennessee.

Rittenour holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s in business from Robert Morris University. She has participated in executive leadership and negotiation programs at Harvard University, and completed the BlueCross BlueShield Association Executive Training Leadership Program at Duke University.

Hershel Harper 

Hershel Harper
Chief Investment Officer

Hershel Harper is the chief investment officer (CIO) of the Trust. With more than 18 years of institutional investment experience, he leads the Trust's investment strategy.

Prior to joining the Trust, he served as CIO for the South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission (RSIC), the governing body responsible for investing and managing all assets for the South Carolina Retirement System. Harper was responsible for developing investment policies and strategy, asset and risk allocations, overseeing manager due diligence, and managing a team of 20 investment professionals. He also collaborated with the executive director on strategic planning, budgeting and communicating with key stakeholders (retiree and employee associations), including the general assembly.

Harper previously served as the chair of the Internal Investment Committee, designated as the commission’s key decision maker for strategic partnerships, and the primary liaison with the Investment Consultant. Harper also worked with organizations including Bank of America Capital Management, Columbia Management, Evergreen Investments and State Street Global Advisors.

Harper earned his master’s degree in finance from Louisiana State University and his bachelor’s degree in finance from Louisiana Tech University. He earned his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and remains a member of the CFA Society of South Carolina.

Charlotte Decker 

Charlotte Decker
Chief Information Officer

Charlotte Decker is the chief information officer for the Trust. Since joining the Trust in 2014, Decker's responsibilities include information technology and the project management office (PMO) for both Trust medical benefits operations and investment operations. She has established mature, sustainable IT and PMO processes, tools, and technology to support the Trust’s needs. She has optimized existing solutions and processes to ensure value and cost containment. She led the selection, deployment and support of investment systems necessary to support a $60 billion portfolio. She also developed and tested the disaster recovery plan and has implemented cyber security solutions, policies, and processes to address vulnerabilities.

Decker has over 25 years of experience across seven major industries: medical benefits, financial and investment, property and casualty insurance, automotive OEM, specialty retail, and tier-one automotive suppliers. She has managed large organizations (250+ staff) and multi-million dollar capital and expense budgets.

Decker holds a Master of Business Administration in Corporate Strategy, and a master's and bachelor's degree in computer engineering from University of Michigan.

Dr. Gina Buccalo 

Gina Buccalo, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer

Gina Buccalo is the chief medical officer at the Trust. She provides overall leadership and strategic direction to the organization’s population health and pharmacy programs. Since joining the Trust in 2017, Buccalo has focused on advancing integrated care models, innovations in provider strategies, promoting primary care utilization within clinically integrated provider networks, and providing oversight on new clinical programs designed to enhance Trust members’ health care and quality of life. On behalf of the Trust, Buccalo participated in The Alliance for Health Policy’s 2018 Signature Series Opportunities for Progress on Aging in America. In this forum, she contributed to a thought leader discussion, sharing the Trust’s approach to caring for older adults, successes, challenges, barriers, and future opportunities.

Before joining the Trust, she served as the chief medical officer and leader of St. John Providence Partners in Care (PIC), a joint venture partnership Physician Hospital Organization (PHO) between Ascension Michigan St. John Providence Health System and The Physician Alliance. Buccalo is the former president of the Macomb Physicians’ Organization, PLLC, and a founding partner of The Physician Alliance. As a board-certified internal medicine physician, she practiced in Metro Detroit for more than 25 years.

She has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Northern Michigan University and a medical degree from Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine where she completed internal medicine training.

Linda Denomme 

Linda Denomme
Chief Legal Officer   

Linda Denomme is general counsel at the Trust. She has been practicing health law for 25 years including in the areas of ERISA, insurer/carrier and vendor contracting, HIPAA and privacy issues, and Medicare.

Prior to joining the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust, she was in-house counsel for Priority Health and HealthPlus of Michigan. Denomme was also an adjunct professor at El Centro College for more than 10 years.

Denomme received a Juris Doctor degree from Indiana University School of Law and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in business administration from Ferris State University. She is a member of the American Bar Association, Michigan Bar Association, and American Health Lawyers Association.

 

 

Susanne Mitchell
UAW Liaison

Susanne Mitchell serves as UAW Liaison to the Trust. The position of UAW Liaison was created in the court-approved Settlement Agreements originally establishing and funding the Trust. UAW President Rory Gamble appointed Mitchell to this position in April 2021.
 
Before her appointment as UAW Liaison, Mitchell spent over 35 years with the UAW, serving more than 21 of those in various capacities on the International Union’s accounting, Social Security and legal staff. First hired into the UAW accounting department in 1998, Mitchell administered pension, legal services, and supplemental unemployment benefit (SUB) plans. 
 
In 2011, UAW President Bob King appointed Mitchell to director of the UAW Social Security Department. While serving in this capacity, Mitchell was responsible for providing professional advice and technical assistance in designing and implementing collectively-bargained benefits, including health, dental, and vision insurance plans; pensions and 401(k) plans; life and disability insurance; SUB plans; and other job and income security protections. 
 
Mitchell graduated from Walsh College with a degree in accounting and earned her Juris Doctor degree from Wayne State University Law School.