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Finance

The New Fed Chair

Seven things you need to know about Trump’s pick for Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell.

BY Audra Heinrichs | Finance | Oct 31, 2017
Jerome Powell. Photo courtesy of Bloomberg

On Thursday, president Donald Trump announced his nomination of Jerome Powell to the position of Federal Reserve chairman. If confirmed, Powell will take the place of Janet Yellen, a Democrat and the first female chair of the Federal Reserve, who has served since 2014.

So what can we expect from Powell? Here are some clues:

  1. Powell has been a Fed governor since 2012. Prior to that, he was an attorney with Davis Polk & Wardwell and Werbel & McMillen in New York. He also worked as an investment banker at Dillon Read, concentrating on financing, merchant banking, and mergers and acquisitions. He will be the first Fed chairman since 1981 without a PhD in economics.
  2. Powell’s finance background includes a stint as partner at the private equity firm the Carlyle Group from 1997 to 2005, where he founded and led the industrial group within the U.S. Buyout Fund.
  3. He was nominated to the Fed in 2011 by president Barack Obama and previously served as the undersecretary of the Treasury for domestic finance under George H.W. Bush in 1992.
  4. In 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported that Powell had assets between $21.3 million and $72.2 million, making him the richest member of the Fed. As chair, he would be the wealthiest person to hold the position since banker Marriner Eccles, who served from 1934 to 1948.
  5. Powell sits on both charitable and educational boards. He is on the board of directors of D.C. Prep, a charter school operator in Washington, D.C.; the Bendheim Center for Finance at Princeton University; and the Nature Conservancy of Washington, D.C., and Maryland. He served as founding chair of the Center City Consortium, a religious organization working with parochial schools in the most impoverished areas of Washington, D.C.
  6. During his time on the Fed board, Powell consistently agreed with Yellen’s policy recommendations including raising interest rates and reducing the balance sheet. According to Investing.com, Powell has not once cast a dissenting vote in a Federal Open Market Committee meeting.
  7. If appointed, Powell would beat out hopefuls Kevin Warsh, the youngest appointment in the history of the Federal Reserve, and Gary Cohn, chief economic advisor to President Trump.

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