Kansas City Fed leader endorses push to increase women in executive suites
Kansas City Fed chief Thomas Hoenig, known nationally for eight “no” votes on fed policies, opened his annual economic overview speech to the Central Exchange today with a resounding “yes” to the organization’s “Win-Win” campaign.
The “Win-Win” campaign goal is to make sure local corporate boards and top executive suites include at least 20 percent women by 2020. If successful, the campaign would mean a big increase for women executives locally. Today, Kansas City companies can claim just 7 percent women executives, even though the workforce is half female and 60 percent of college graduates are women.
Hoenig’s support for the initiative comes from personal experience. He said the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank executive committee is half women, and the bank is better off because of the diverse voices at the helm, women he described as merit-based selections. Surely that puts the bank in rarified territory for local boards, and speaks well of his leadership.
His tenure at the bank’s helm ends this year, based on mandatory retirement policies at 65.
On the economy for 2011, Hoenig expects positive growth of 3.5 percent to 4 percent this year. But he also expects unemployment to remain high, not falling below 9 percent all year.
Hoenig, who delivered his seventh consecutive first-of-the-year economic address to the Central Exchange, has attracted plenty of national attention in the last year following his series of “no” votes opposing policies of the Federal Open Market Committee, including the latest stimulus effort. And he spent time today defending the value of dissent on the committee.
His major beef with financial reform legislation focuses on the “too big to fail” banking entities that he worries are now “way too big to fail.” He’s a believer that American economic strength emerged from a diversity of institutions and hopes to see more diversity return in the future.
The “no” man who prefers the tag “non-zero-interest-rate-guy” is clearly not on the “no” side on diversity of many stripes, in boardrooms and in businesses.