By Ryan Velez
Black Enterprise reports that a historical milestone has just been reached, as for the first time in its 103 years of operation, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta has named an African American as its president and CEO. On Monday, it was formally announced that Raphael Bostic, an openly gay Black professor at the University of Southern California, will be taking over the position from Dennis Lockhart, who retired at the close of February.
“We are very pleased that Raphael will join the Atlanta Fed as its president and chief executive officer,” said Thomas Fanning, chairman of the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, in a press release. Fanning also gave high praise to Bostic, describing him as “a seasoned and versatile leader, bringing with him a wealth of experience in public policy and academia. Raphael also has significant experience leading complex organizations and managing interdisciplinary teams. He is a perfect bridge between people and policy.”
Bostic is scheduled to begin his duties leading the institution on June 5th, and said that he was looking “forward to confronting the challenges the Federal Reserve faces in today’s increasingly global and rapidly changing economy.”
Prior to returning to USC to teach, Bostic served as the Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Obama administration, from 2009 to 2012. He has been a longtime champion of working class families and seniors, as well as working to provide affordable housing.
A native of New Jersey, Bostic graduated from Harvard in 1987 with a double major in economics and psychology before earning his doctorate in economics from Stanford University in 1995. He would then work as an economist in the monetary and financial studies section at the Fed Board in Washington from 1995 to 2001. To give some perspective on the barrier that Bostic is breaking, according to data from the Brookings Institution, before Bostic’s appointment, none of the 134 people who served as regional Fed presidents were Black or Latino. Only six women had ever held the position as well.