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U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell takes questions during a news conference following the two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) policy meeting in Washington, U.S., March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RC1E639BA290
Op-Ed

Who has to leave the Federal Reserve next?

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Editor's Note:

This post was most recently updated on August 30, 2021. It is based on a November 2017 post by Michael Ng and David Wessel on the same topic.

Kadija Yilla

Former Senior Research Assistant - Hutchins Center on Fiscal & Monetary Policy, The Brookings Institution

Joe Biden has just one empty seat to fill on the Federal Reserve’s seven-member Board of Governors, but he will have to decide in the coming months whether to reappoint or replace the chair (Powell) and the two vice chairs (Richard Clarida and Randal Quarles) when their terms in those posts expire.

Under a 1977 law, the president nominates a Fed chair and the two vice chairs for four-year terms. They must be confirmed for those positions by the Senate in a vote distinct from their confirmation as a member of the Fed board. Powell’s term as chair expires in February 2022. Clarida’s term as vice chair expires in September 2022. Quarles’ term as vice chair for (bank) supervision ends in October 2021.

Fed board members in Washington are chosen by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The president and the Senate have no say in picking presidents of the 12 regional Fed banks, however; they’re chosen by their private-sector boards of directors subject to the approval of the Fed’s board in Washington.

Presidents of the 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. Ms. Daly, appointed on October 1st, 2018, at the age of 55, falls into the second category, which means her term is up in October of 2028.

So who is next? No one soon. The next Fed bank president who must step down is the Boston Fed’s Eric Rosengren, but not until 2022.

Name Must Leave By Bank Age Now Age Appointed
Rosengren June 2022 Boston 64 50
Evans January 2023 Chicago 63 49
George January 2023 Kansas City 63 53
Mester May 2024 Cleveland 62 55
Harker June 2025 Philadelphia 62 56
Kaplan September 2025 Dallas 64 58
Bullard February 2026 St. Louis 60 47
Barkin January 2028 Richmond 61 56
Williams June 2028 New York 59 56
Daly October 2028 San Francisco 58 55
Bostic May 2031 Atlanta 55 51
Kashkari July 2038 Minneapolis 48 42

Neel Kashkari, the youngest appointed of the current regional presidents, can serve through 2038. 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 so.

The Fed governors in Washington serve fixed 14-year terms that are staggered; one term expires every two years. If a governor leaves before his or her term is up, their successor completes their term. Governors filling unexpired terms can still be appointed to a new one, meaning that they can serve for more than 14 years. Only two Fed governors however, have served for over 14 years in the past half-century of Fed history. The median term length was a little over 5 years.  By law, the president cannot remove a governor except “for cause,” a legal term that means he would have to show that the person had done something wrong.

Fed Board Member Age Term Expires
Michelle Bowman 50 January 2034
Richard Clarida* 64 January 2022
Lael Brainard* 59 January 2026
Jerome Powell 68 January 2028
Randal Quarles 63 January 2032
Christopher Waller* 62 January 2030

*Filling an unexpired term, so could be reappointed.

Four of the Federal Reserve Board’s current members were initially appointed by Donald Trump (Bowman, Clarida, Quarles, and Waller). The one open seat on the Board is for a term that expires in 2024.

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