E. Gerald Corrigan, who as the aggressive president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank helped cushion the Wall Street crash in the late 1980s, died May 17 at a memory center in Dedham, Massachusetts. He was 80.
The cause was complications from Alzheimer’s disease, his daughter Elizabeth Corrigan said.
As president of the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis from 1980 to 1984 and then of the New York Fed from 1985 to 1993, Mr. Corrigan used his regulator prerogatives to help resolve national and global financial crises and some of the causes of episodic market instability.
“He played a vital role in providing the psychological reassurance for a few critical days after the stock market crash,” said Paul A. Volcker, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board when Mr. Corrigan retired from the Fed in 1993, referring to his actions after the Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 22 percent in a single day in October 1987.
In that turn of events, Mr. Corrigan urged Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan to reassure markets that the Federal Reserve would pump all the necessary money into the financial system to reduce volatility. He also played a pivotal role in other crises, helping the Fed deal with the collapse of the investment bank Drexel Burnham Lambert in 1989 and Salomon Brothers in 1991, as well as coping with rising inflation, emerging market debt and the need to regulate global lending risk.
After Mr. Corrigan retired from the Fed, he joined Goldman Sachs, where he became chief executive officer in 1996 and later chairman of the company’s international advisors, co-chair of the corporate standards committee and its first non-executive executive. chairman of his commercial bank, now known as Goldman Sachs Bank. He retired from Goldman in 2016.
Edward Gerald Corrigan, better known as Jerry, was born on June 13, 1941 in Waterbury, Conn. His father, Edward, was a restaurant manager. His mother, Mary (Hardy) Corrigan, was a librarian.
He received a Bachelor of Social Science degree in economics from Fairfield University in Connecticut in 1963. He received a master’s degree in economics from Fordham University in New York in 1965 and a doctorate in the same subject in 1971. (Years later, he donated $5 million to each university to establish professorships.)
After a year of teaching at Fordham, he joined the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 1968 as a researcher while still working on his PhD. when mr. Volcker, the president of the New York Fed, became chairman of the Federal Reserve Board in 1979, he recruited Mr. Corrigan as special assistant.
During his tenure at the Fed, Mr. Corrigan was appointed chairman of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision by the governors of the world’s central banks, a position he held from 1991 to 1993. He was also vice chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee from 1984 to 1993. In 1992, he was appointed co-chair of the Russian-American Bankers Forum, which helped the former Soviet Union develop a market-driven banking and financial system.
In addition to his daughter Elizabeth, Mr. Corrigan is survived by another daughter, Karen Corrigan Tate, from his marriage to Linda Barlow, which ended in divorce; his wife, Cathy Minehan, who was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston from 1994 to 2007; his stepchildren, Melissa Minehan Walters and Brian Minehan; a sister, Patricia Carlascio; and five grandchildren.
Mr. Corrigan’s romance with Ms. Minehan raised questions about a potential conflict of interest when she was at the Fed and he was at Goldman Sachs in the mid-1990s, but he said at the time they had consulted lawyers to prevent leaks of sensitive information. prevent. information that could benefit his business.
During his stewardship, the Fed was criticized for failing to curb abuses by the scandal-battered Bank of Credit and Commerce International. But Mr. Corrigan said when he retired that “if it wasn’t for the Fed, there’s a pretty good chance BCCI would still be active.”
In his 1993 comments, Mr. Volcker said that Mr. Corrigan had “a good conceptual understanding of the financial world, but most importantly, that he knows how to get things done.”
“That’s a rare trait in the bureaucratic world he grew up in,” Mr Volcker added.
When the market collapsed in 1987, for example, Fed officials planned to issue a turgid technical response.
“I said that’s the last damn thing we need,” Mr Corrigan was quoted as saying in Sebastian Mallaby’s “The Man Who Knew: The Life and Times of Alan Greenspan” (2016). “What we need is a statement with about 10 words in it.”
Mr. Greenspan took Mr. Corrigan’s advice and said (in 30 words) that the Fed would provide whatever money it needed, while Mr. Corrigan urged the big banks to continue lending to support the markets.
when mr. Corrigan retired from the Fed, he said he would take a private sector job where “I will try to limit myself to working six days a week instead of seven.” The aftermath of the market crash in 1987, he said, had been his most memorable moment.
“In terms of my heart rate,” he said, “it wins the prize.”