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Cathy E. Minehan

  • President, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, 1994–2007

Cathy E. Minehan was the twelfth president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, serving from July 13, 1994 to July 20, 2007. 

Minehan was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester in 1968 and a master’s in business administration from New York University in 1977.1

She began her career with the Federal Reserve System in 1968 at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The New York Fed had recruited her for a computer programming role, but Minehan wrote that "I talked my way into interviewing for their management trainee program,"2 an unusual area for women at that time. Eventually, Minehan became part of the senior leadership at the New York Fed and over the years took on various responsibilities, including data processing and the management of the group that handles the Fed's "Fedwire" service.3

Minehan moved to the Boston Fed in 1991 as first vice president. In that role, she served as acting president at Boston upon Richard Syron's departure from the position in April 19944 and officially became the Boston Fed's president in July 1994. During her term as president,5 Minehan served as chair of the Financial Services Policy Committee and played a key role in System-wide planning for Y2K preparedness and response.6

In a 2005 essay, Minehan characterized herself as "part of the 'quiet revolution' [of women in the workplace] that began in the late 1960s."2 She was the first woman to serve as first vice president at a Federal Reserve Bank, and the second to serve as president (following the Cleveland Fed's Karen Horn). 

Minehan retired in 2007.7 Reflecting on her career, she wrote:

I fell in love with the Bank, its centrality in the financial system and its importance when crises strike. I have worked in just about every area of a Reserve Bank, from technology to bank supervision, payments to fiscal services, now as CEO and a monetary policymaker. I can say that at each step along the way what helped keep things in perspective was a sense of the broad mission of the Federal Reserve and my pride in being part of accomplishing that mission.8


Written by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston as of November 2013 and updated by Ella Needler and Genevieve Podleski as of October 2022. See disclaimer and update policy.