The Council on Foreign Relations established the Paul A. Volcker Chair in International Economics in 1997 to honor Paul A. Volcker, long active in the Council and a member of its Board of Directors, an outstanding public servant and a leading international economist. The chair recognizes his stellar accomplishments and gives the Council a leading presence in international economics.
Paul A. Volcker was chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 1979 to 1987, and is credited with the leading role in ending a period of high and rising inflation and restoring a base for sustained growth. Initially appointed to that position by President Carter for a four-year term, he was reappointed in 1983 by President Reagan. Upon completion of his second term as chairman, Mr. Volcker returned to private life, joining as chairman of the firm James D. Wolfensohn Inc. He retired as chairman and CEO of Wolfensohn & Co., Inc. upon the merger of that firm in 1996 with the Bankers Trust Company.
In the course of his career, Mr. Volcker worked in the federal government for almost 30 years, serving in office under five pre sidents—John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Immediately before becoming Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in 1979, Mr. Volcker spent more than four years as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the principal operating arm of the system.
Earlier, Mr. Volcker had two tours of duty as an official of the U.S. Treasury, serving as under secretary for monetary affairs from 1969 to 1974. In that position he was responsible for developing and implementing Treasury debt management and Federal credit policies. On behalf of the United States, he conducted international monetary negotiations during the transition from the Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate system to the more flexible system of floating rates that has prevailed since the early 1970s.
Mr. Volcker has served on numerous public and private advisory boards, corporate boards of directors, and international commissions.