Longtime official Marianna Edwards departs post
Marianna Edwards, the longtime manager of the Screen Actors Guild-Producers Pension plan, has departed her post.Christopher Dowdell, CEO of the pension and health plans, confirmed to Variety that Edwards is no longer with the pension plan but provided no further details. The SAG health plan covers about 40,000 participants and has assets of more than $2 billion, while the retirement plan pays pensions to an estimated 9,000 beneficiaries. Edwards’ departure comes with trustees of the SAG and AFTRA health and retirement plans — operated separately from the union with an equal number of reps from the producers and the union — attempting to merge the separate plans in the wake of union leaders requesting that they take such a step. Proponents of the merger, approved in March, touted the combined SAG-AFTRA as having more power than the individual unions and asserted that combining the unions would be a first step toward combining the separate SAG and AFTRA health and retirement plans — and move toward solving the problem of performers not qualifying for coverage under the separate plans. Dowdell replaced Bruce Dow in April, stepping up from chief operating office slot after Dow resigned. The pension and health plans were sued earlier this year by a former executive Craig Simmons for alleged wrongful termination. Simmons had filed a complaint with the federal government last year, asserting he was terminated for acting as a whistleblower about alleged embezzlement at the fund; the board of trustees has repeatedly denied Simmons’ allegations.