Economist Austan Goolsbee will take over as president of the Chicago Federal Reserve early next year as the central bank weighs critical policy actions, according to an announcement Thursday.
Goolsbee will officially take the seat on January 1. on February 9, 2023, and finish a term begun by the retiring Charles Evans that expires on February 2. 28, 2026.
Currently a professor at the prestigious Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago, Goolsbee previously served as Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers from 2010-2011 under President Barack Obama.
“Austan is an exceptional choice to be the next president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He is a highly-qualified economist with extensive policy experience and a strong commitment to public service,” said Helene Gayle, chair of the board of directors of the Chicago Federal Reserve. she said in a statement.
Goolsbee comes to the Chicago Fed at a sensitive time for the central bank.
As part of an effort to combat the highest levels of inflation in more than 40 years, the Fed has raised its benchmark interest rate half a dozen times this year and is expected to continue raising it through at least early 2023. Some economists worry that the Fed is tightening too much and could cause a recession.
In recent comments to CNBC, Goolsbee indicated that the slowdown indicated in some inflation data points lately probably won’t be enough for the Fed to backtrack much of its tightening policy.
“If you’re going up 75 basis points per meeting, we’re going to have to figure out what the pivot point is,” he said after the October consumer price index report showed inflation rose less than expected on a monthly basis. “Unless and until you bring core monthly inflation down to a comfortable range, I think the ‘slow down, cool down’ voices will continue to be a bit muted.”
Goolsbee will not be a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee that sets rates in 2023. However, he will still be able to express his opinion on policy and will be the next voter in 2025.
A Chicago Fed statement announcing the appointment said the new district president is “a leading empirical economist” whose research spans a wide variety of topics. The statement also notes that Goolsbee has been a proponent of alternative inflation measures.
Goolsbee called the Chicago Federal Reserve “one of the crown jewels” of the central bank system.
“I am honored and excited to serve the public in this role,” he said in a statement. “These have been challenging and unprecedented times for the economy. The Bank has an important role to play in helping the District weather them and prosper in the future.”
Lately, the Federal Reserve has experienced considerable turnover with both governors and regional presidents rotating in and out as voting members.
Newer members include regional presidents Lorie Logan of Dallas and Susan Collins of Boston, as well as governors Philip Jefferson and Lisa Cook.
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