President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he had selected Jerome “Jay” Powell, a member of the Federal Reserve board of governors, to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve, succeeding Chair Janet Yellen in February. Powell, with his background in investment banking, said Trump, would “bring extensive private sector experience and real-world perspective to our government.”
As Fed chair, Powell would be the first in nearly four decades to serve in the position without an advanced degree in economics. Many expect that Wall Street will welcome the news while hoping for a continuation of Yellen’s cautious approach to interest rate hikes, the Associated Press reported. However, Powell, a Republican, also is expected to depart significantly from the Democratic Yellen’s tendencies to enact tight regulations.
“Based on his record, I am confident that Jay has the wisdom and leadership to guide our economy through any challenges that our great economy may face,” Trump said when he delivered his announcement in the White House Rose Garden. “I am confident that with Jay as a wise steward of the Federal Reserve, it will have the leadership it needs in the years to come.”
Noting that Powell served as undersecretary in the Department of Treasury under former President George H.W. Bush, Trump predicted that Powell “will also bring to the Fed a unique background of prior government service and business experience.”
The president urged Democratic senators to depart from their usual habits of slow-walking or resisting his nominees by acting swiftly to confirm Powell as Fed chair.
“Jay has earned the respect of members of Congress straight across party lines. For each of his appointments to the Fed, the Senate confirmed Jay with strong support from members of both parties — that’s unusual,” Trump said. “I hope the Senate will swiftly confirm him once again.”
For his own part, Powell said he would, if confirmed by the Senate, “do everything in my power to achieve our congressionally assigned goals of stable prices and maximum employment.” He also pledged to work toward “moving monetary policy toward greater transparency and predictability,” as his predecessors have done before him.
“Inside the Federal Reserve, we understand that monetary policy decisions matter for American families and communities,” said Powell. “I strongly share that sense of mission, and I’m committed to making decisions with objectivity based on the best available evidence in the long-standing tradition of monetary policy independence. Mr. President, thank you again for this extraordinary opportunity to serve the American people.”