Fed’s Esther George to retire in January, search for successor begins

Esther George at Jackson Hole, Wyoming
David A. Grogan | CNBC

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Esther George will retire in January after 11 years as one of the U.S. central bank’s more hawkish policymakers, and a search for her successor has begun, the regional Fed bank said on Wednesday.

George’s retirement by age 65 is mandated under rules for Fed bank presidents. The Kansas City Fed’s board of directors has hired Egon Zehnder to aid in the nationwide search for her replacement, it said in a statement.

Her successor will help set interest rates for the world’s biggest economy as the Fed raises interest rates to fight the highest inflation in 40 years, made worse by a pandemic that has killed millions and continues to disrupt global supply chains, and by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that has sent energy prices soaring.

The search for a new Kansas City Fed leader takes place against the backdrop of massive turnover among U.S. monetary policymakers, a group of 19 when all vacancies are filled.

The seven-member Fed Board this month gained two new members, both Black economists picked by U.S. Fed President Joe Biden to fill vacant spots. Biden’s nominee for the Board’s seventh and last seat, the role of Fed Vice Chair of Supervision, is expected to win confirmation in coming months as well.

Two of the Fed’s 12 regional banks recently named new presidents, and another, the Chicago Fed, is in the midst of its own search for a new leader.

George’s career at the Fed stretches back 40 years.

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