This post is an update to a November 2017 post by Michael Ng and David Wessel on the same topic.
The Federal Reserve has seen some turnover at the top in the past few years. William Dudley retired in mid-2018 as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He was succeeded by John C. Williams, who had been president of the San Francisco Fed. Williams was succeeded in San Francisco by that bank’s research director, Mary Daly. President Trump picked Jerome Powell to succeed Janet Yellen in early 2018 as chair of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors when her term as chair expired. He also has filled three other vacancies on the board.
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|
|George||January 2023||Kansas City||61||53|
|Bullard||February 2026||St. Louis||58||47|
|Williams||June 2028||New York||57||56|
|Daly||October 2028||San Francisco||56||55|
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
*Filling an unexpired term, so could be reappointed.
There are two open seats on the board with terms that expire in 2024 and 2030. President Trump could nominate one of the existing board members for one of those terms, extending Clarida’s term, for instance, or he could add someone new to the board.
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.
To learn more about the possibility of an unusual Board vacancy, click here to read Peter Conti-Brown’s “What happens if Trump tries to fire Fed chair Jerome Powell?”.