ProfessionalsRobert C. Fleder
Of counsel in the firm’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group, Robert Fleder has handled ERISA, employee benefits and executive compensation matters for over 40 years. Described in U.S. News & World Report/Best Lawyers as "without question the 'Dean of the Bar' in his practice area globally, period," Rob is recognized as one of the leading lawyers in the United States in the area of employee benefits and executive compensation, by peer review organizations Chambers USA, Legal 500 and Best Lawyers in America.
Rob has extensive and sophisticated experience in the legal, accounting, actuarial and human resource issues connected with the implementation and operation of employee benefit plans and executive compensation arrangements. In numerous merger and acquisition transactions, he has addressed the issues that arise in connection with the assumption of (or failure to assume) benefit plans and other employee obligations. His major transactions include representation of the airline pilots who led the successful multi-billion dollar effort to have employees acquire a majority stake in United Airlines through an ESOP.
Rob has been involved in defending and settling significant ERISA fiduciary claims involving private plaintiffs and the Department of Labor. Additionally, he has done much work in advising on ERISA fiduciary matters for investment funds and plan fiduciaries. Corporate bankruptcies often require major support on benefits and executive compensation, and Rob has significant experience with PBGC, the federal agency that insures underfunded pensions when a plan sponsor fails, and dealing with multiemployer pension plan withdrawal liability.
Rob has provided employee benefit and executive compensation advice in connection with high-profile, multi-billion dollar and cutting-edge transactions, including:
- AbitibiBowater Inc., and certain U.S. and Canadian subsidiaries, as U.S. bankruptcy and securities counsel in their complex U.S. chapter 11 and Canadian insolvency proceedings;
- General Atlantic Partners and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. in their $1.65 billion acquisition of TASC, Inc., a provider of advanced systems engineering and technical assistance to the defense, intelligence, federal, state and local markets, from Northrop Grumman;
- JH Investments, Oaktree Capital Management and TPG Capital in their $1.2 billion acquisition of the North American home building business of Taylor Wimpey, the U.K.'s second-largest home builder;
- An affiliate of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. in connection with its approximately $160 million acquisition of the assets of Angelica Corporation, a Georgia-based provider of textile rental and linen management services to the U.S. healthcare market, under section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code (union and pension issues involved);
- KPS Special Situations Fund in connection with several U.S. and non-U.S. turnaround and carve-out acquisitions in manufacturing, transportation, auto parts and other industries;
- Noranda Aluminum Holding Corp., a leading U.S. aluminum producer, and its subsidiaries in connection of their chapter 11 cases, including the sales of Noranda’s upstream and downstream businesses (various pension issues involved);
- Oak Hill Capital Partners in a variety of matters, including the $900 million sale of its portfolio company Primus International, a leading supplier of highly engineered metallic and composite parts, kits and assemblies to the global aerospace industry, to Precision Castparts Corp;
- Oaktree Capital Management, LP in a variety of matters, including as the primary sponsor in the reorganization of Aleris International, Inc., a global leader in aluminum rolled products, extrusions and recycling, allowing Aleris to emerge from chapter 11 protection;
- RSC Holdings in its $4.2 billion merger with United Rentals, creating a leading North American equipment rental company that is expected to accelerate United Rental's growth with industrial customers;
- Time Warner Cable Inc. in its $3 billion acquisition of Insight Communications Co., owned by the Carlyle Group, MidOcean Partners and Crestview Partners, in a transaction that joins two of the ten largest U.S. cable operators;
- Walter Energy, Inc., a leading producer and exporter of metallurgical coal for the global steel industry, in its chapter 11 case (various pension issues involved); and
- Warner Music Group in its $3.3 billion going private sale to Access Industries.
Rob is a member of the Executive Committee of the Tax Section of the New York State Bar Association and a member of the American Bar Association and has written and lectured extensively. He is a past co-chair of the Employee Benefits Committee of the Tax Section of the New York State Bar Association.