Economist Austin Goolsby will take over as president of the Chicago Federal Reserve early next year as the central bank weighs future critical policy moves, according to an announcement Thursday.
Goolsbee will take the seat officially in January. 9, 2023, completing a term begun by the retiring Charles Evans, which expires in February. 28, 2026
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Currently a professor at the prestigious University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Goolsbee previously served as chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers from 2010-11 under then-President Barack Obama.
“Ostan is an outstanding choice for the next president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He is a highly accomplished economist with extensive policy experience and a strong commitment to public service,” Helen Gale, chair of the Chicago Federal Reserve Board of Directors, said in a statement.
Goolsbee comes to the Chicago Federal Reserve at a delicate time for the central bank.
As part of an effort to combat the highest levels of inflation in more than 40 years, the Fed has raised its benchmark interest rate half a dozen times this year and is expected to continue raising at least into early 2023. Some economists worry that The Fed tightens too much and could trigger a recession.
In recent remarks to CNBC, Goolsbee indicated that the slowdown indicated in some recent inflation data likely won’t be enough to get the Fed to back off much of its policy tightening.
“If you’re raising 75 basis points per meeting, we’re going to have to figure out what the pivot point is,” he said after October’s consumer price index report showed inflation rose less than expected on a monthly basis. “Unless and until you get core monthly inflation down to a comfortable range, I think the voices saying ‘slow down, cool down’ will still be a bit muted.”
Goolsbee will not be a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee, which sets rates in 2023. However, he will still be able to voice his opinion on policy and will next be a voter in 2025.
A release from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago announcing the appointment said the new district president is a “leading empirical economist” whose research spans a wide variety of topics. The publication also notes that Goolsbee has been an advocate of alternative measures of inflation.
Goolsbee called the Chicago Federal Reserve “one of the jewels in the crown” of the central bank system.
“I am both humbled and excited to serve the public in this role,” he said in a statement. “These were difficult, unprecedented times for the economy. The Bank plays an important role in helping the District overcome them and thrive going forward.”
The Fed has seen significant turnover recently with both governors and regional presidents moving in and out as voting members.
More recent members include regional presidents Lori Logan of Dallas and Susan Collins of Boston, as well as governors Philip Jefferson and Lisa Cook.