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Friday, April 25, 2014

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Accepting the Challenge

Blake Prichard was appointed first vice president and chief operating officer of the Philadelphia Fed, effective January 1, 2011. Prior to assuming his new role, Prichard was executive vice president responsible for Retail Payments, Treasury Services, Information Technology Services, and Customer Relations. He also provided oversight to the Federal Reserve System's Groupware Leadership Center, which provides national e-mail and related services.

Blake PrichardThe preceding letters from President Plosser and Bill Stone noted the many forces of change that the Philadelphia Fed experienced in 2010. Among them was Bill Stone's retirement after 39 years with the Bank, including 23 years as first vice president. I am honored indeed to follow Bill in the role of first vice president and chief operating officer.

Change is inevitable in every institution. Managing change is a fundamental management responsibility in every organization. We are indebted to Bill Stone for his exceptional leadership and his commitment to preparing others to fulfill their management responsibilities. Bill was the model of a mission-focused executive, with a firm understanding of the public service that Federal Reserve Bank employees provide. I have benefited from Bill's coaching and mentoring during my career. I know that many others within our management team and many of our employees have benefited as well.

We have an extraordinary depth of talent in our Bank, and I look forward to working with all of the Bank's employees as we continue to deliver the best possible service.

The nation's economy, financial institutions, businesses, and families are still recovering from a deep recession. We have much to do before the nation's economic performance and the financial conditions of its citizens and businesses are back to normal. Passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act last July has also meant new roles and additional responsibilities for the Fed. It will require an innovative and talented staff throughout the System, including those here in Philadelphia, to figure out how best to carry out these assignments.

The Dodd-Frank Act has resulted in other changes at the Reserve Banks as well. Each Reserve Bank and the Board of Governors, as well as other regulatory agencies, were required to establish an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) and name a director by January 21, 2011. In response, the Philadelphia Fed has established an Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) and appointed Mary Ann Hood as director, in addition to her ongoing roles as senior vice president of the Human Resources Department and the Bank's equal opportunity officer. The new ODI will fulfill the requirements of Dodd-Frank while also recognizing the ongoing commitment that our Bank has made to diversity initiatives in recent years, including a formal Diversity Council of Bank employees, an active diversity recruitment program, and ongoing efforts to increase women- and minority-owned businesses within the Bank's supplier ranks. All of these efforts to support diversity make the Philadelphia Fed a stronger institution and better able to support the diverse neighborhoods and communities that make up the Third District.

In conclusion, all of us at the Bank are following in the footsteps of some remarkable role models of public service. Yet, when I look around at the terrific team of employees, I am confident that we have the drive and determination to continue to deliver the best service possible to our Third District constituents.


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