By Ryan Rainey
March 13, 2017 at 1:42 pm ET
Former Obama administration official Raphael Bostic on Monday was named the next president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, where he’ll be the first African-American to serve as head of a Fed regional bank.
Increased diversity has been the focus of advocates who have criticized the racial and gender composition of Fed regional boards.
Bostic, a public policy professor at the University of Southern California, will take over the post on June 5. Former President Dennis Lockhart stepped down on Feb. 28 after announcing his departure in September. First Vice President Marie Gooding will serve as interim president until Bostic takes over.
Bostic worked as an economist at the Fed in Washington from 1995 to 2001, and he served as assistant secretary of housing and urban development for policy development and research from 2009 to 2012. He will likely occupy a seat on the Federal Open Market Committee in 2018, when the Atlanta Fed gets its turn at a rotating position on the monetary policy panel.
In a video announcing Bostic’s selection, Atlanta Fed Chairman Thomas Fanning cited “his positive energy, his deep knowledge of income inequality, economic opportunity and consumer banking issues, and his outstanding personal character and intellect” as key reasons for the decision.
His appointment was praised in a statement by Rep. Maxine Waters of California, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee.
“Given the disparate economic experiences faced by key demographic groups, it is crucial that a broader cross-section of groups have a seat at the decision-making table,” said Waters, who also noted that Bostic will also be the first openly gay president of a Fed regional bank. “I congratulate Mr. Bostic on his appointment and encourage the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, working with the Board of Governors, to build on today’s announcement by conducting the genuine and intentional efforts needed to build diversity at the Fed and ensure its senior leaders reflect the interests of America as a whole.”
This story was updated to include a statement from Waters.