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Saturday, June 10, 2023


President of Dallas Federal Reserve Bank visits UH

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President of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank Robert Kaplan explained his thoughts on the state of the economy and shared leadership advice with students. | Pablo Milanese/The Cougar

The new president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Robert Kaplan, spoke to the UH community Wednesday to discuss the state of the economy and the role of the Federal Reserve Bank. It was the first major speech Kaplan gave since assuming his position in September. 

Kaplan started his lecture by discussing the energy sector and acknowledging the importance of the industry in Texas and Houston, stating that the energy sector accounts for 14 percent of Texas’ GDP. Kaplan also discussed the economic downturn Houston has seen due to overproduction of oil.

“The Department of Energy estimates that world production of oil currently exceeds the daily demand by 1.6 million barrels,” Kaplan said.

Kaplan said that he expects to see bankruptcies, mergers and acquisitions within the energy sector in coming years, before oil production starts to level out and supply starts to match demand. He said he expects that leveling out to start either at the end of 2016 or at the beginning of 2017.

Despite Texas’ slow job growth rate this year — 1.7 percent compared to last year’s growth of 3.6 percent — Kaplan described Texas’ economy as “highly resilient.”

“Texas has seen solid growth in the service sector, particularly in the health care industries, leisure industries and hospitality industries,” Kaplan said.

Before being tapped to be the new president of the Federal Reserve in Dallas, Kaplan held positions on Wall Street and in academia. He served as vice chairman of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. where he co-headed the Investment Banking Division.

In 2006, Kaplan became a Martin Marshall professor of management and a senior associate dean at Harvard Business School.

“I liked the way he presented the facts. He seemed to have an optimistic outlook for the future of Texas’ economy while being practical about the challenges we face,” supply chain logistics technology junior Justin Cox said.

Kaplan ended his lecture with advice about exuding leadership qualities for students starting to enter the workforce.

“Leadership starts with an ownership mindset,” Kaplan said. “Think like you’re the boss, and (ask) yourself, ‘What can I do to make this place better?’”

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