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San Francisco Fed names research chief John Williams as president

The economist has worked in the Fed system since 1994. In his new role, Williams will participate in the central bank's policy discussions.

March 01, 2011|Bloomberg News

John Williams, research director for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, was named the bank's new president, succeeding Janet Yellen, who left last year to become the Fed board's vice chairman.

Williams, 48, had served as executive vice president and research director since 2009.

The economist, who has worked in the Fed system since 1994, joins the central bank's efforts to bolster growth and reverse a jobless rate stuck at 9% or more since May 2009. He represents a nine-state Western region that accounts for about 20% of the economy and has seen more than 60 banks fail since 2004.

"He came to the research department from the board in Washington and has an incredibly impressive publication history," Robert Parry, president of the San Francisco Fed from 1986 to 2004, said before the announcement. "When he came, it was quite a significant addition to the research department."

Williams will participate in the central bank's policy discussions and vote on the Federal Open Market Committee once every three years, starting in 2012.

Fed presidents are appointed by each regional bank's board and approved by the central bank's governors in Washington. The head of the San Francisco Fed will be the first chosen under legislation signed into law by President Obama in July that keeps private-sector bankers who serve on regional Fed boards out of the selection process.

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