The White House named Kenneth Feinberg '70 as the administrator of a $20 billion fund that BP is creating to pay claims growing out of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A longtime litigator who founded a mediation firm, Feinberg has become the nation's de facto paymaster in chief. He currently serves as the government's "pay czar," overseeing executive compensation at financial institutions that accepted federal bailout money during the economic crisis. And the BP assignment is the latest among many in which he has been charged with administering--and sometimes determining--payments to those harmed by defective products or catastrophes. Previously he served as special master of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, as well as of funds for victims of asbestos, Agent Orange, the Dalkon Shield, and estrogen drug DES. He was one of three arbiters called upon to determine the market value of the Zapruder Kennedy-assassination film. Feinberg's BP role grows out of direct discussions President Obama and other administration officials had on June 16 with top officials of the oil company.

Published June 16, 2010