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Photo of Philip E. Coldwell

Philip E. Coldwell

  • Governor, Board of Governors, 1974–1980
  • President, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, 1968–1974
  • Born: July 20, 1922
  • Died: May 26, 2008

Philip E. Coldwell served as the eighth president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas from February 1, 1968, to October 28, 1974, and as a member of the Board of Governors from October 29, 1974, to February 29, 1980.

Born in Champaign, Illinois, in 1922, Coldwell received his bachelor’s (1946) and master’s (1947) degrees from the University of Illinois and his PhD in economics from the University of Wisconsin in 1952. During World War II he served in the U.S. Navy as a combat pilot. Coldwell taught economics at the University of Illinois,1 University of Montana, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and University of Wisconsin.2

Coldwell began his career with the Federal Reserve System as an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in 1951,3 leaving in 1952 to join the Dallas Fed as an industrial economist in the Research Department. Two years later, he became director of research at the Bank.4 In 1960, Coldwell was elected vice president5 and in 1962 became vice president and economic advisor to the president of the Dallas Fed. Later that year, he was elected first vice president.6 In 1968, Coldwell succeeded Watrous Irons to become the Dallas Fed’s president.7 As a member of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) during his presidency, Coldwell generally favored faster money growth.8

Following the resignation of Andrew Brimmer in 1974, President Gerald Ford nominated Coldwell to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.9 It was the first time in more than 40 years that a Federal Reserve Bank president had been named to the Board of Governors.

As a Governor, Coldwell dissented more frequently in FOMC meetings,10 favoring tighter monetary policy, especially from 1978 to 1979. At the time, inflation was high and rising, and his recommendations to raise interest rates and restrict the availability of funds countered the opinion of Board members who supported more gradual steps toward fighting inflation.11 Coldwell was also frequently called upon to testify to Congress on behalf of the Board and Chairman Burns.12

Coldwell's term ended February 29, 1980. Following his service to the Federal Reserve System, he formed Coldwell Financial Consultants based in Washington, D.C. He died in 2008.13


Written by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas as of November 2013 and updated by Victoria Yin and Genevieve Podleski as of July 2022. See disclaimer and update policy.