Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart’s retiring. Who’s next?

Dennis Lockhart

Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart announced recently he will be leaving his post on Feb. 28, 2017. This shouldn’t have been a surprise, given how term limits of regional Fed bank presidents work—that was the last day he could be in the job.

Here is the rule: Presidents of regional Fed banks can serve until they’re 65, unless appointed after turning 55, in which case they can serve for a maximum of 10 years or until they’re 75, whichever comes first. Mr. Lockhart, appointed on March 1, 2007, at the age of 60, fell into the second category, which meant his 10 years were up on Feb. 28, 2017, his announced departure date.

Who’s next? The short answer: No one soon. The next Fed bank president who will have to leave is the New York Fed’s William Dudley, not until 2019.

When they must retire

Yup, Neel Kashkari could still be setting interest rates when your 15-year-old niece runs for president in 2036. There is (at least) one technicality, though. Presidents of the 12 regional Fed banks are up for reappointment every five years. The Fed’s Board of Governors in Washington could replace any one of them, though it hasn’t ever done that.

The terms of the Fed’s Board in Washington, by the way, are quite different. Each of the seven seats on the board has a fixed 14-year term, staggered so one term ends every two years. If a governor leaves before the 14 years are up, as is often the case, his or her successor is named to fill an unexpired term. In that case, a governor can complete the term, and then be nominated for a new one.

In practice, though, of the 43 former Fed Board members appointed in the past 50 years, only two—Edward Kelley Jr. and Alan Greenspan—served for 14 or more years. The median length of service was a little over five years.

Fed board member