WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on Thursday named Anthony M. Santomero, a professor of finance at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, to be its next president.
Mr. Santomero, a career academic who runs Wharton's Financial Institutions Center, is scheduled to take office July 10. He succeeds Edward G. Boehne, who retired last month.
"In some respects, I have been studying for this position for 30 years," said Mr. Santomero in an interview after the announcement. "Making a transition to the Fed, given my background, I think will work very well."
The incoming president praised Mr. Boehne, saying, "I am pleased to note that the bank itself, by all accounts, is in good shape and is considered to be well run. My predecessor did a wonderful job for 19 years, which will make my job that much easier."
Mr. Santomero is a prolific writer on issues of banking and financial services. One of his areas of concentration has been risk management and disclosure, topics that have gotten much attention from the Fed in recent months.
He said he generally agrees with the central bank's expressed belief that banks should disclose sufficient information about their risk-taking for investors to augment regulatory efforts through market discipline.
"I think it is a logical progression, as we recognize the role that risk plays in the financial system to pay attention to the way the firm manages risk," he said. "Increased disclosure and transparency represent a very healthy evolution that is constructive for both the industry and regulators."
Mr. Santomero said that one of his first priorities will be to acquaint himself with the Fed's Third District, which includes eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware.
"I will make an attempt very early on in the process to interact with the bankers and the business community of the district," he said, adding that having been a professor at Penn since 1972 has given him a head start.
"I am not a stranger to the community, and I already know a number of people in the financial and business communities here," he said.
The broader transition, from academic to head of a $25 billion bank, will be a challenge, he said.
"Change is always interesting, exciting, and a little daunting," he said. "But I have had a number of administrative positions, and I have also been intimately involved in the financial community through the [Financial Institutions] Center."
Mr. Santomero has worked for a number of banks as a consultant, he added, "so I am not unfamiliar or disconnected from the issues facing the industry."
Mr. Santomero's name has come up previously in connection with an opening in the Federal Reserve System. In 1996, after Princeton University professor Alan Blinder resigned as vice chairman of the Fed, Mr. Santomero was mentioned as a possible successor. That post was taken, however, by Alice M. Rivlin, who resigned last year.