New San Francisco Fed President Probably Should Have Been New N.Y. Fed President

But New York decided to hire San Francisco’s old (white, male) president, instead.


When the New York Fed reached across the continent to grab San Francisco Fed President John Williams as its new leader, there was a fair amount of carping. In part, this was because some people think—in spite of outward appearances to the contrary—that he wasn’t very good at his job and thus didn’t deserve a promotion. But mostly, it had to do with appearance, full stop.

"The New York Fed has never had a woman or a person of color at its helm, and the Federal Reserve Bank only just last year added its first black regional bank president," Booker wrote in a Bloomberg View column. "If we're serious about creating an inclusive and sustainable economy, no one should be left on the sidelines…."

Williams was inserted into the search process late in the game and over and above qualified women who had already been in the running….

Now, in point of the above, the San Francisco Fed doesn’t really have much to prove: After all, before Williams, it had been led by a woman; perhaps you remember her? And Mary Daly certainly fits the bill for the job before considering matters identity: A researcher who’s been with the S.F. Fed for more than two decades and who was mentored by Janet Yellen herself, there’s no quibbling with the usual qualifications. Still, we can’t help but think the S.F. Fed search committee rather enjoys sticking it to the people who just stole their leader a little bit.

As a Missouri native and high-school dropout who was living on her own at age 16, she will add a distinctive perspective to a group dominated by men whose two-day meetings eight times a year set interest rates for the world’s largest economy.

She will be one of three female Fed regional bank presidents. She is also the first lesbian to hold a Fed policymaking post.

Mary Daly, labor expert, picked to run San Francisco Fed [Reuters]
Daly appointment shows diversity gap between regional Feds [Reuters]
Yellen Recommends Fed Formalize ‘Lower-for-Longer’ Guidance on Rates [WSJ]