Pond Ponders Monetary Policy

Fairchild Semiconductor Corp.'s chairman and CEO, Kirk Pond, hopes to promote education and economic development as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Kirk Pond believes that meaningful economic development can't take place without a significant and strong educational infrastructure. Earlier this year he was appointed a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, where he hopes to apply his knowledge of business and the semiconductor industry, of which he has been a part for nearly 35 years, to aid in New England's fight for industrial development. IW: How were you chosen as a director for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston? Pond: The process is fairly well defined by statute. The boards of the 12 Federal Reserve banks are representative of clients in the districts of the banks. Three of the board members are large bank people, three are small bank people and three are representatives of the business community. In my case it had mostly to do with Fairchild and little to do with Kirk Pond. It was the fact that my company is one of the largest publicly traded companies in New England, and the fact that it's a technology company. They felt it would be interesting to have a person representing the semiconductor industry, which is largely a worldwide industry, and of course is a good proxy for economic activity worldwide. I had to be nominated by the member banks and voted on by the member banks. It's quite an honor to be selected. IW: How would you like to impact monetary policy? Pond: The discussion of monetary policy, specifically interest rates and that relationship to economic activity, is very much a topic that is discussed. That, of course, is not the only duty of Federal Reserve district banks. Other duties are to be involved in economic development within the district. To be involved in educational outreach on economic policy and monetary policy and economic growth. And to that end I am very interested because that ties in to what Northern New England is trying to do, because it is a relatively poor part of the country without much industrial development. I think being able to talk from the bully pulpit on the importance of education, and particularly technology education as it relates to economic growth, is something I will be able to do now with perhaps a little bit more authority. I certainly think using the resources of the Fed Bank for outreach programs to be involved in the schools and universities and the public at large -- perhaps we will get more of a chance to do that in Northern New England now that I have that connection. I am hopeful that I will be able to have more of an influence in economic development. IW: How is this position going to impact your position at Fairchild? Pond: I have been quite zealous about guarding my time that I spend on outside activities, and this does require a lot of time. But I think I have budgeted that properly. The pluses are pretty obvious. It allows me insight into basic economic activity and economic theory and what people who spend their lives studying this, what they really think about what the future brings. And of course my job as chairman of Fairchild is to make proper investment decisions and proper decisions about where the business is going. Having some more knowledge and some more insight into economic development and the direction that the economy is going allows me to set a better strategy.

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