Under fire from Congress for a lack of diversity in its top ranks, the Federal Reserve Board on July 13 chose a woman as president of the Boston Fed. Cathy Minehan, a career Fed staffer and No.2 in Boston since 1991, is only the second woman in the Fed's 83-year history to head one of its 12 regional banks.
Minehan, 47, spent most of her career at the New York Fed, where she rose through its nuts-and-bolts electronic payments operation and gained a reputation as an efficient manager. "She's incredibly productive," recalls Gerald Corrigan, former chief of the New York Fed. Corrigan says Minehan played a key role in the Fed's attempts to stabilize the banking system during the 1987 stock market crash and the 1990 Drexel Burnham failure.
With no real background in economics, Minehan isn't expected to play a strong role in monetary policymaking. In an early June speech, though, she praised the Fed's decision to preempt inflationary pressures by raising interest rates. "I come at issues of monetary policy," she says now, "from the perspective of someone with a good understanding of business fundamentals."