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Photo of Robert P. Mayo

Robert P. Mayo

  • President, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, 1970–1981
  • Born: October 6, 1916
  • Died: January 25, 2003

Robert Mayo was the sixth president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, serving from July 29, 1970, to July 1, 1981.

Mayo was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1916. He received a bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) in 1937 from the University of Washington. In 1938, he earned his master’s degree in business administration and certificate in government service from the same institution. Mayo was a chartered financial analyst and member of Phi Beta Kappa.

From 1938 to 1941, Mayo was director of research and tax auditor for the Washington State Tax Commission in Olympia, Washington. He then joined the US Treasury, where he was a career executive in the office of the secretary from 1941 to 1960. During this time, he rose from economic analyst to assistant to the secretary of the Treasury for debt management.

Mayo left the US Treasury and became vice president of Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust Company of Chicago, concentrating on trust investments and public affairs in August 1960. Before leaving Chicago in 1968 to become director of the Bureau of the Budget, he also served as assistant to the chairman of the American Bankers Association Committee on Urban Affairs.

While budget director, Mayo was also a member of the Advisory Commission Intergovernmental Relations, a member of President Nixon’s fiscal policy “Troika” and fiscal and monetary policy “Quadriad,” and chairman of the Cabinet Committee Task Force on Lumber Prices. He was then appointed counselor to President Nixon on July 1, 1970, leaving later that month to become president of the Chicago Fed.

During Mayo’s tenure as president, the Interdistrict Transportation System was established in 1972, which was an air transport system that provided overnight delivery of checks between Federal Reserve offices. In addition, regional check processing centers were opened in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1972, and later in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1973, and in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1975. 

Mayo died in 2003 at the age of eighty-six.

Written by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. See disclaimer.