Fed chair welcomes Williams appointment to NY Fed; former chair weighs in positively too

The newly named president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York – whose appointment has been criticized by some for being white and male – was welcomed Tuesday by the Fed board’s chairman as a dedicated public servant, distinguished thought leader and proven executive and public communicator.

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome H. “Jay” Powell issued a statement with the comments after the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) named John C. Williams as its next president and CEO.

“John is a dedicated public servant, a distinguished thought-leader in monetary policymaking, and a proven executive and public communicator,” Powell said in the statement, contained in a FRBNY press release. “I have valued his insight and wise counsel during my years at the Federal Reserve and look forward to continuing to work with him in the years ahead.”

Also Tuesday, Powell’s predecessor as Fed chairman, Janet Yellen, issued a statement supporting Williams. “He is a distinguished economist who has made major contributions to the formulation of monetary policy,” said Yellen, now a distinguished fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

A group calling itself “Fed Up” posted a statement on Twitter Tuesday criticizing Williams’ selection, saying his appointment ignored “the demands of the public and choosing yet another white man whose record on Wall Street regulation and full employment raises serious questions.”

Prior to his new position, Williams was president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank and served as a member of the Fed’s interest-rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). Before he was president, he was executive vice president and director of research at the San Francisco Fed, which he joined in 2002. He joined the central bank in 1994 as an economist with the Fed Board.

Williams has also been a senior economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers and a lecturer at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

The New York Fed oversees the Second Federal Reserve District, which includes New York State, the 12 northern counties of New Jersey, Fairfield County in Connecticut, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. However, it is the largest reserve bank in assets and volume of activity.

The bank also has some unique responsibilities, according to the Fed, including conducting open market operations to execute monetary policy on behalf of the FOMC, acting as the fiscal agent of the U.S. Treasury, operating Fedwire, and providing banking and clearing services to  foreign central banks, governments and international agencies.

John C. Williams Named President and CEO of New York Fed