Reports of Williams Heading to New York Fed Spur Backlash


The Federal Reserve is facing a backlash over its lack of diversity in key positions after reports this weekend that John Williams, the current president of the San Francisco regional branch, is the front-runner to succeed William Dudley as head of the powerful New York Fed.

It’s one of the most important roles in global central banking. The Fed’s New York branch oversees Wall Street and holds a permanent vote on monetary policy. The bank’s own search committee emphasized a diverse process to fill it, hiring a search firm that specializes in identifying minority and women candidates.

Yet New York Fed directors have identified Williams, 55, a respected macro-economist who is also white, as the leading candidate, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Saturday and a New York Times story Sunday, both citing people familiar with the process. Spokesmen for the New York and San Francisco Feds, as well as the Fed Board in Washington, all declined to comment or said they couldn’t confirm the news.

Many observers see that choice as a disappointing end to a process that has passed over several well-credentialed candidates including Peter Blair Henry, dean emeritus of New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, who is black, and women including former U.S. Treasury official Mary J. Miller. The news also comes at a time when Donald Trump’s administration has reportedly settled on Richard Clarida, another white male, as the front-runner to fill the open vice chairman role on the White House-nominated Fed Board.

‘Status Quo’



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