William F. Ford was the eleventh president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He served in that role from August 1, 1980, to October 1, 1983.
Ford was born in Huntington, New York. He received his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Texas and graduated summa cum laude. He earned his master’s degree and PhD in economics from the University of Michigan. Ford is a graduate of the Senior Executive Program at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. He is also a veteran of the US Navy Submarine Service. Ford served on the faculties of the University of Michigan, the University of Virginia, and Texas Tech. He also was a staff member and consultant to the RAND Corp. He served as chief economist of the American Bankers Association. In 1975, he became a vice president of Wells Fargo. In 1976, he headed the bank’s planning department and a year later was named senior vice president and chief economist.
Ford succeeded Monroe Kimbrel as the Atlanta Fed’s president in 1980. During his presidency, the Federal Reserve faced many challenges. One was a battle with double-digit inflation that caused considerable damage to the economy. Following the Fed’s aggressive monetary policy action, inflation was brought down, but the economy experienced a recession in the early 1980s marked by double-digit unemployment.
The Bank also went through a major operational transition with the passing of the Monetary Control Act of 1980. The act widened the Fed’s role in the payments system by requiring that services previously available free of charge to Federal Reserve member banks be priced competitively and made available to all depository institutions.
In addition to these challenges, Ford also strived to improve the efficiency and diversity of the Bank’s workforce in the Sixth Federal Reserve District.
On October 1, 1983, Ford resigned and moved to San Francisco to become president of First Nationwide Financial Corp. He later served as president and CEO of Broadview Savings Bank in Cleveland, Ohio. He then served as dean of the Business School at the University of Denver from 1990 to 1991. Since 1991, Ford has held the Weatherford Chair of Finance in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business School at Middle Tennessee State University.
Ford has authored or coauthored about 100 articles in business and academic journals. Many of his papers focus on banking, employment, and earnings. His most cited paper is “The Wage Effects of Obesity: A Longitudinal Study,” which he coauthored with Charles L. Baum in 2004. He has served on the boards of six corporations, the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) and the US Chamber of Commerce. He is an elected fellow of NABE and the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
Ford and his wife, Diane, have two children, Eric and Kristin.
Written by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. See disclaimer.