WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta has named Raphael Bostic, a former Obama appointee and professor of public policy, as its new president, concluding a monthslong search to replace the retired Dennis Lockhart. Bostic will become the first African-American to head a regional Fed bank.

Bostic, 50, most recently chaired the Department of Governance, Management and the Policy Process at the University of Southern California’s school of public policy. He also served as assistant secretary for policy development and research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 2009 through 2012 and was an economist at the Federal Reserve Board from 1995 through 2001.

Tom Fanning, chairman of the Atlanta Fed’s board and president and chief executive of Southern Co., said Bostic combines many of the traits that the search committee was looking for, including expertise in economics, a history of public service and management experience.

Raphael Bostic, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Raphael Bostic, the new Atlanta Fed president, is "an exceptionally well-qualified economist and public servant who has dedicated his career to studying and combating racial, economic, and social inequity," said one consumer advocate.

“We are very pleased that Raphael will join the Atlanta Fed as its president and chief executive officer,” Fanning said. “He is a seasoned and versatile leader, bringing with him a wealth of experience in public policy and academia. Raphael also has significant experience leading complex organizations and managing interdisciplinary teams. He is a perfect bridge between people and policy.”

Lockhart, who was appointed Atlanta Fed president in 2007, announced his retirement last September. The Federal Reserve law has certain age restrictions on regional bank presidents that compelled Lockhart to step aside. He officially retired Feb. 28, and Bostic will assume the role on June 5.

Lockhart’s retirement spurred calls from some politicians and reform advocates for a person of color to be named as his replacement, arguing that in the central bank’s long history no such person has been named as a regional bank president. Many of those voices are now praising Bostic’s appointment, with House Financial Services Committee ranking member Maxime Waters, D-Calif., calling Bostic an “outstanding choice." She said his selection will help the Fed better represent the public it serves.

“Given the disparate economic experiences faced by key demographic groups, it is crucial that a broader cross-section of groups have a seat at the decision-making table,” Waters said. “I congratulate Mr. Bostic on his appointment and encourage the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, working with the Board of Governors, to build on today’s announcement by conducting the genuine and intentional efforts needed to build diversity at the Fed and ensure its senior leaders reflect the interests of America as a whole.”

Shawn Sebastian, co-director of the Fed Up coalition, praised Bostic’s appointment and expressed optimism that he would serve as a voice for underprivileged communities as head of the regional bank and as a representative on the Federal Open Market Committee.

“He is an exceptionally well-qualified economist and public servant who has dedicated his career to studying and combating racial, economic, and social inequity,” Sebastian said. “We look forward to working with President Bostic to ensure that racial disparities in unemployment and wages are not forgotten during FOMC deliberations, as they have been in the past.”

Federal Reserve Bank presidents serve on the Federal Open Market Committee, the central bank's monetary policy-setting committee, on a rotating basis. Bostic will not vote on the committee this year but will serve as a voting member in 2018 and as an alternate in 2020.

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