Karen N. Horn
- President, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, 1982–1987
Karen Horn was the sixth president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and the first woman president in the Federal Reserve System.1 She served from May 1, 1982, until her resignation on April 8, 1987.
A California native, Horn received a bachelor's in mathematics from Pomona College in 1965 and her doctorate in economics from Johns Hopkins University in 1971. From 1969 to 1971, she was a senior economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, where she focused on supervision and regulation of bank holding companies. She then became an economist at, and later vice president of, the First National Bank of Boston. In 1978, Horn became treasurer of the Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She served in that position and as treasurer of the Diamond State Telephone Company until her appointment as president of the Cleveland Fed in 1982.2
As president, Horn successfully guided the Cleveland Fed through Ohio's savings and loan crisis in the 1980s3 and was a strict defender of anti-inflationary monetary policy.4 She was a proponent of low inflation in recessionary times and was aware of the industry shifts occurring in the Fourth Federal Reserve District’s economy during her tenure. She also supported the Federal Reserve’s disciplined monetary policy position of raising interest rates, if necessary, to quell inflationary pressures. Horn opposed large federal spending deficits and cautioned about lessons learned in the 1970s regarding high inflation coupled with overly permissive monetary and fiscal policies.Horn was public about the fact that she preferred to focus on her work rather than her status as a trailblazer. In a 1987 article she said, "My whole career I have never really focused on the fact that I am a woman. Clearly the media is interested in these facts, but it isn't my particular issue."5
In 1987, Horn left the Cleveland Fed to serve as chair and chief executive officer of Banc One Corp. in Cleveland.6
- 1 Laura Gross. "Cleveland Fed Appoints Horn 1st Female President in System." American Banker, March 30, 1982.
- 2 "Fed Bank President Appointed in Cleveland." New York Times, March 30, 1982.
- 3 "Ohio Fed President Takes on a Crisis." New York Times, March 18, 1985; Associated Press. "Ohio Governor Shuts 70 S&Ls; for Three Days." Los Angeles Times, March 17, 1985; Rick Reiff, "Cleveland Bank Has New Motto: Be Ready to React." American Banker, October 27, 1986.
- 4 Karen Horn. "Monetary Policy in the 1980s." Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Economic Commentary, February 27, 1984.
- 5 Dyan Machan. "Peripatetic Banker." Forbes, June 1, 1987: 172. This article and contemporary articles from 1982 also reported that Horn was pregnant at the time she took office.
- 6 Daniel F. Cuff and Robert Barrios. "Cleveland Fed Chief Moves to Bank One." New York Times, January 28, 1987.