Chair of the Federal Reserve
The chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is the head of the Federal Reserve, which is the central banking system of the United States. The chair is the "active executive officer" and shall preside at meetings of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
|Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System|
|United States Federal Reserve System|
|Member of||Board of Governors|
Open Market Committee
|Reports to||United States Congress|
with Senate advice and consent
|Term length||Four years, renewable (as Chair)|
14 years, non-renewable (as Governor)
|Constituting instrument||Federal Reserve Act|
|Formation||August 10, 1914|
|First holder||Charles Sumner Hamlin|
|Salary||Executive Schedule, Level I|
The chair serve a four-year term after being nominated by the president of the United States and confirmed by the United States Senate, and serve concurrently as member of the Board of Governors. The chair may serve multiple terms (consecutively or non-consecutively), pending a new nomination and confirmation at the end of each term, with William McChesney Martin as the longest serving chair from 1951 to 1970, and Alan Greenspan been a close second. The chairs cannot be dismissed by the president before the end of their term.
Section 203 of the Banking Act of 1935 changed the name of the "Federal Reserve Board" to the "Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System," the "governor" of the Board as the "chairman" and the "vice governor" as the "vice chairman" of the Board, and renamed "members" of the Board as "governors." The Banking Act of 1935 also made the following structural changes:
- increased the number of members of the Board appointed by the President from six to seven
- required the President to designate one of the persons appointed as "chairman" of the Board and one as "vice chairman" of the Board, each to serve in such role for a term of four years
- specified that the appointive members in office on the date of the act should continue to serve until February 1, 1936, or until their successors were appointed and had qualified; thereafter, the members' terms should be 14 years
- specified that the ex officio members in office on the date of the act (the Secretary of the Treasury and the Comptroller of the Currency) were to continue to serve as ex officio members only until February 1, 1936, but made no further provision for ex officio members
- provided that the "chairman of the Board, subject to its supervision, shall be its active executive officer"
The directors' salaries were significantly lower (at $12,000 when first appointed in 1914) and their terms of office were much shorter prior to 1935. In effect, the Federal Reserve Board members in Washington, D.C., were significantly less powerful than the presidents of the regional Federal Reserve Banks prior to 1935.
The nominees for chair and vice-chair may be chosen by the president from among the sitting governors for four-year terms; these appointments are also subject to Senate confirmation. The Senate Committee responsible for vetting a Federal Reserve chair nominee is the Senate Committee on Banking.
Duties of the Fed chair
By law, at meetings of the Board the chairman shall preside, and, in his absence, the vice chairman shall preside. In the absence of the chairman and the vice chairman, the Board shall elect a member to act as chairman pro tempore.
Under the chair’s leadership, the Board’s responsibilities include analysis of domestic and international financial and economic developments. The board also supervises and regulates the Federal Reserve Banks, exercises responsibility in the nation’s payments system, and administers consumer credit protection laws.
By law, the chair reports twice a year to Congress on the Federal Reserve's monetary policy objectives. He or she also testifies before Congress on numerous other financial issues and meets periodically with the treasury secretary, who is a member of the president's Cabinet.
Conflict of interest law
The law applicable to the chair and all other members of the board provides (in part):
No member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System shall be an officer or director of any bank, banking institution, trust company, or Federal Reserve bank or hold stock in any bank, banking institution, or trust company; and before entering upon his duties as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System he shall certify under oath that he has complied with this requirement, and such certification shall be filed with the secretary of the Board.
List of Fed chairs
The following is a list of past and present chairs of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. A chair serves for a four-year term after appointment, but may be reappointed for several consecutive four-year terms. Since the Federal Reserve was established in 1914, the following individuals have served as chair.
|Term of office||Tenure length||First appointed by|
|Start of term||End of term|
|-||William Gibbs McAdoo
|December 23, 1913||August 10, 1914||230 days||ex officio|
|1||Charles Sumner Hamlin
|August 10, 1914||August 9, 1916||1 year, 365 days||Woodrow Wilson|
|2||William P. G. Harding
|August 10, 1916||August 9, 1922||5 years, 364 days|
|3||Daniel Richard Crissinger
|May 1, 1923||September 15, 1927||4 years, 137 days||Warren G. Harding|
|4||Roy A. Young
|October 4, 1927||August 31, 1930||2 years, 331 days||Calvin Coolidge|
|September 16, 1930||May 10, 1933||2 years, 236 days||Herbert Hoover|
|6||Eugene Robert Black
|May 19, 1933||August 15, 1934||1 year, 88 days||Franklin D. Roosevelt|
|7||Marriner S. Eccles
|November 15, 1934||January 31, 1948||13 years, 77 days|
|8||Thomas B. McCabe
|April 15, 1948||March 31, 1951||2 years, 350 days||Harry S. Truman|
|9||William McChesney Martin
|April 2, 1951||January 31, 1970||18 years, 304 days|
|10||Arthur F. Burns
|February 1, 1970||January 31, 1978||7 years, 364 days||Richard Nixon|
|11||G. William Miller
|March 8, 1978||August 6, 1979||1 year, 151 days||Jimmy Carter|
|August 6, 1979||August 11, 1987||8 years, 5 days|
|August 11, 1987||January 31, 2006||18 years, 173 days||Ronald Reagan|
|February 1, 2006||January 31, 2014||7 years, 364 days||George W. Bush|
|February 3, 2014||February 3, 2018||4 years, 0 days||Barack Obama|
|February 5, 2018||Incumbent||3 years, 172 days||Donald Trump|
- Chair was originally known as "Governor" before August 23, 1935, and were then designated as "Chairman" until Yellen became the first woman to be chair on February 3, 2014.
- Upon passage of the Federal Reserve Act on December 23, 1913, U.S. secretary of the treasury became ex officio chairman of the Federal Reserve Board and a member of the Reserve Bank Organization Committee (RBOC). Secretaries to serve in this role until the Banking Act of 1935, approved Aug. 23, 1935, which became effective on Feb. 1, 1936, ended ex-officio membership at the Federal Reserve. Fed leader initially designate as "Governor and Active Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Board" became the "Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System" after that. For this list Governors perceived as heads of the Federal Reserve System since establishment of position; because, unlike treasury secretaries, appointed members of the Board does not serve at the pleasure of the President and cannot be dismissed until their term of office expires.
- Served as a member of the Board of Governors after the term as Fed chair.
- Served as a member of the Board of Governors prior the term as Fed chair.
- Served as chairman pro tempore from February 3, 1948 to April 15, 1948.
- Served as chairman pro tempore from February 1, 1978 to March 7, 1978, and remained a member of the Board until March 31, 1978.
- Served as chairman pro tempore from March 3, 1996 to June 20, 1996, while awaiting confirmation by the United States Senate for his third term as chairman.
- Served as Fed vice chair prior the term as Fed chair.
- 5 U.S.C. § 5312
- see 12 U.S.C. § 242
- "Can the President Fire the Chairman of the Federal Reserve?". Archived from the original on July 27, 2020. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
- "Jerome H. Powell sworn in as Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System". Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Archived from the original on February 6, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
- Appelbaum, Binyamin (February 4, 2018). "Powell Takes Over as Fed Chief as Economy Starts to Show Strain". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
- NPR. "Senate Confirms Jerome Powell As New Federal Reserve Chair". Retrieved February 3, 2018.
- Cox, Jeff (January 31, 2018). "Yellen leaving Fed Saturday, Powell to be sworn in Monday". CNBC. Retrieved February 3, 2018.
- Gensler, Lauren (November 2, 2017). "Trump Taps Jerome Powell As Next Fed Chair In Call For Continuity". Forbes.
- Sec. 203, Banking Act of 1935, Public Law no. 305, 49 Stat. 684, 704 (Aug. 23, 1935).
- Richardson, Gary; Komai, Alejandro; Gou, Michael (November 22, 2013). "Banking Act of 1935". www.federalreservehistory.org. Archived from the original on November 21, 2020. Retrieved June 12, 2021.
- "The Reserve Board Nominations". The Independent. July 20, 1914. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- Meltzer, Allan H. (2003). A history of the Federal Reserve: Volume 1, 1913-1951. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- "The Fed - Board Members". Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. February 21, 2018. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
- "The Structure of the Federal Reserve System". Federalreserve.gov. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
- Federal Reserve (January 16, 2009). "Board of Governors FAQ". Federal Reserve. Archived from the original on January 17, 2009. Retrieved January 16, 2009.
- see 12 U.S.C. § 244
- "The Structure and Functions of the Federal Reserve System". www.federalreserveeducation.org. February 21, 2019. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
- "Chair of the Federal Reserve Board". www.stlouisfed.org. February 12, 2019. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
- 12 U.S.C. § 244
- "Salary Table No. 2021-EX Rates of Basic Pay for the Executive Schedule (EX)" (PDF).
- "Chairs". Membership of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 1914–present. The Federal Reserve Board. February 5, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
- "Executive Order 11110 - Amendment of Executive Order No. 10289 as Amended, Relating to the Performance of Certain Functions Affecting the Department of the Treasury". The American Presidency Project. June 4, 1963 – via UCSB.edu.
- Andrews, Edmund L. (November 5, 2005). "All for a more open Fed". New Straits Times. p. 21.
- Beckhart, Benjamin Haggott. 1972. Federal Reserve System. [New York]: American Institute of Banking.
- Shull, Bernard. 2005. The fourth branch: the Federal Reserve's unlikely rise to power and influence. Westport, Conn.: Praeger.