The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta on Monday named as its new president Raphael Bostic, an economist, professor and former housing official under President Barack Obama.
Mr. Bostic, 50, is the first African-American president at one of the dozen Fed regional banks. Since leaving the government in 2012, he has been a professor in public policy at the University of Southern California.
He will take the position during a time of economic transition and political turmoil. Fed leaders, apparently persuaded that the economy has finally healed from the recession, are poised to start raising interest rates again. That strategy — aimed at heading off inflation — would be bolstered if the Trump administration follows through on promises to spend large amounts of money on infrastructure.
Janet Yellen, the current Federal Reserve chair, has been questioned during congressional testimony about the Fed’s historical lack of diversity. Dennis Lockhart, who resigned as Atlanta Fed president last month, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he supported an effort to add diversity to the ranks of the Fed.
Mr. Bostic will be the 15th president and CEO of the Atlanta Fed and will take the position on June 5, according to a statement from the Fed. The selection was approved by the Atlanta Fed’s board of directors, as well as by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, D.C.
“We are very pleased that Raphael will join the Atlanta Fed as its president and chief executive officer,” Thomas Fanning, CEO of Southern Co. and chairman of the Fed board, said in a statement.
“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.” Mr. Bostic is a graduate of Harvard University with a degree in economics and psychology. He has a doctorate in economics from Stanford.
He was assistant secretary for policy development and research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 2009 to 2012, a position that required confirmation by the Senate. The Fed statement on Monday said that his role then was as principal adviser to the HUD secretary.