Issue Date: December 15, 2008
ACS Implements Cost Savings
THE CONTINUING TURMOIL in world financial markets is taking its toll on the American Chemical Society, which publishes C&EN. In the face of significant declines in the value of its investments, the society has taken a number of steps to bolster its continued financial viability.
The society's board of directors approved changes in the ACS staff defined benefits pension plan and retiree health insurance at its annual winter meeting, held in Arlington, Va., on Dec. 5–7. ACS will freeze further accruals to its defined benefits pension plan on Oct. 31, 2009, and current participants in the plan will be transitioned to the society's defined contribution retirement plan.
Full-time ACS employees who are eligible for the society's postretirement health insurance program will remain eligible. However, the board voted to cap the amount ACS contributes to the overall cost of retiree health insurance for future retirees at the 2009 level as of Dec. 31, 2009. Current retirees are not affected by these changes.
Earlier this fall, ACS management instituted other financial mitigation steps, according to Executive Director and CEO Madeleine Jacobs. These include a partial hiring freeze, careful expense management, and cutbacks in capital and discretionary spending, such as travel, professional services, and training.
"The society is following a prudent course of action," Jacobs says. "These changes are difficult, and they were made only after all possible alternatives were thoroughly explored and discussed. ACS has an obligation to ensure that the society remains financially sustainable for the long term in order to carry out its mission to serve our members and the scientific community worldwide."
The changes made by the board will have a meaningful positive impact on the society's financial position, Jacobs adds. "I am optimistic about our future," she says, "and I am also confident that the outstanding staff of ACS and our members will work together through these challenging times and that ACS will continue to be an innovative and vibrant organization."
In other actions, the board of directors approved a 2009 operating budget with a net contribution of $9.4 million and a capital budget of $24.5 million. The board elected Judith L. Benham to a third and final one-year term as board chair. The board elected Bonnie A. Charpentier to the board executive committee for a two-year term and Eric C. Bigham to a one-year term.
The board also confirmed the appointment of Robert H. Grubbs, Victor & Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology, to the ACS Green Chemistry Institute Governing Board. He will fill a three-year term.
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