Karen A. Pennell. Photo courtesy of Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has named Karen A. Pennell its new first vice president and chief operating officer. She will replace Kenneth C. Montgomery, who will retire this spring.

The Boston Fed covers all of Connecticut except for Fairfield County.

Pennell will take over the post in April. With 35 years of experience at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, she was the executive vice president and chief services officer of the Fed’s National Information Technology function prior to joining Boston Fed. From 1989 to 2020, she held positions of increasing responsibility at the Kansas City Fed, rising to senior vice president and member of the Management Committee. She also chartered and co-sponsored the Kansas City Fed’s first Women in Technology community of practice and a Minorities in Technology Task Force, as well as served on the Kansas City STEM Alliance advisory board.

Under her new role, Pennell will be Boston Fed’s second-ranking officer, the vice chair of its executive committee, and advisor the Boston Fed President Susan Collins. She will oversee the bank’s operational, technological, financial, risk management, workforce and support performance.

“Karen is exceptionally qualified for this important role,” Collins said in a statement. “Her career to date is characterized by factors we prioritized in this search – business and financial acumen, dexterity amidst change and complexity, technological and process innovation, results orientation, a collaborative mindset, people-development skills, and effective relationship-building. I am excited to begin working with Karen as we lead the Boston Fed in continued service to New England and the nation.”

Nationally, Pennell as first vice president will be responsible for collaborating with peers within the Federal Reserve System on major initiatives, leading the system’s Financial Support Office and will serve as a member of the Fed’s Conference of First Vice Presidents.

“Serving the public good is a great privilege for me and for all of us in the Federal Reserve System, and inspires us to pursue excellence. I look forward to contributing to the Fed’s mission in this key leadership role, working with the talented team at the Boston Fed to together continue to drive progress,” Pennell said in a statement.

Pennell was selected by a committee of non-banker members of Boston Fed’s board of directors, assisted by executive search firm Bridge Partners. The search committee was led by Boston Fed board chair Corey Thomas, the chairman and CEO of Boston cybersecurity firm Rapid7.

“The search committee has a diverse range of backgrounds and perspectives, and vetted many excellent candidates,” Thomas said in a statement. “Ultimately we saw Karen as the ideal person – given her technology, operations, and leadership abilities – to ensure the bank’s work continues to be characterized by excellence and innovation.”