Philip E. Coldwell served as the eighth president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas from February 1, 1968, to October 28, 1974. He also served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from October 29, 1974, until February 29, 1980.
Born in Champaign, Illinois, in 1922, Coldwell received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Illinois and his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin. His education was interrupted by World War II while he served in the US Navy as a combat pilot. Coldwell eventually taught economics at the University of Illinois, Montana State University, and the Southwestern Louisiana Institute (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette).
Coldwell began his career with the Federal Reserve System as an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, resigning his position in 1952 to join the Dallas Fed as an industrial economist in the Research Department. Two years later, he became director of the department. In 1960, Coldwell was elected vice president 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. In 1968, Coldwell succeeded Watrous Irons to become the Dallas Fed’s president. During Coldwell’s tenure, currency processing was automated, with testing for the entire Federal Reserve System conducted at the Dallas Fed.
Coldwell was nominated in 1974 by President Gerald Ford and confirmed by the US Senate to membership on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors following the resignation of Andrew Brimmer. It was the first time in forty-seven years that a Federal Reserve Bank president had been named to the Board of Governors. One of Coldwell’s special assignments at the Board was maintaining the Federal Reserve System’s relationship with all the central banks in the Western Hemisphere.
Coldwell was a member of several professional and civic organizations, including the American Economic Association, Southern Economic Association, Dallas Economists Club, and Newcomen Society of North America. He also served as a member of the board of trustees of the Southwestern Legal Foundation at Southern Methodist University and the director of the Dallas Council on World Affairs. Coldwell lectured on banking at the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking.
Following his service to the Federal Reserve System, he formed Coldwell Financial Consultants based in Washington, DC. He also served in a number of roles for different companies. He became director of Diamond Shamrock Corporation until 1987 and then director of Maxus Energy Corporation from 1987 to 1993. He was also a director of the Temp, Fed and Muni Fund.
Brother Coldwell passed away in 2008.