Chair of the Federal Reserve

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Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Flag of the United States Federal Reserve.svg
Janet Yellen official Federal Reserve portrait.jpg
Janet Yellen

since February 1, 2014
Appointer President of the United States
Formation August 10, 1914; 101 years ago (1914-08-10)
First holder Charles Sumner Hamlin
Salary $199,700[1] (2014)
Website Bios

The Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is the head of the central banking system of the United States. Known colloquially as "Chair of the Fed", "Fed Chair" or "Fed Chief". The Chair is the "active executive officer"[2] of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The currently used gender-neutral title for this position is "Chair."

The current chair is Janet Yellen, the first woman to hold the position.[3] She began her term on February 1, 2014, and previously served as the Vice-Chair from 2010 to 2014.

1935 reorganization[edit]

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve did not exist prior to the major reorganization of the Fed in 1935 (Banking Act of 1935). Prior to that time, the "Federal Reserve Board" (created in 1913 under the Federal Reserve Act) had a Board of Directors. The directors' salaries were significantly lower (at $12,000 when first appointed in 1914[4]) 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.[5]

In the 1935 Act, the district heads had their titles changed to "President" (e.g., "President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis"), as part of a major shift of power to Washington.

Thus, Marriner Eccles was the first actual "Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Board". The others prior to 1935 were "Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve System", with much more circumscribed power.

Appointment process[edit]

As stipulated by the Banking Act of 1935, the President of the United States appoints the seven members of the Board of Governors; they must then be confirmed by the Senate and serve for 14 years only.[6] Once appointed, Governors may not be removed from office for their policy opinions.[1]

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.[7] 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 issues and meets periodically with the Treasury Secretary.

Conflict of interest law[edit]

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.[8]

Chairs of the Federal Reserve[edit]

The following is a list of past and present Chairs of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. There have been a total of 15 Chairs of the Federal Reserve,[9] all of whom have been appointed by the President of the United States.

Name (chair)[10][11]
Photo Term of office Appointed by
Start of term End of term
1 Charles Sumner Hamlin
Charles Hamlin-headshot.jpg August 10, 1914 August 10, 1916 Woodrow Wilson
President Woodrow Wilson portrait December 2 1912.jpg
2 William P. G. Harding
William P.G. Harding-headshot.jpg August 10, 1916 August 9, 1922
3 Daniel R. Crissinger
Daniel R. Crissinger cropped.jpg May 1, 1923 September 15, 1927 Warren G. Harding
Warren G Harding portrait as senator June 1920.jpg
4 Roy A. Young
Roy A. Young 2.jpg October 4, 1927 August 31, 1930 Calvin Coolidge
John Calvin Coolidge, Bain bw photo portrait.jpg
5 Eugene Meyer
Portrait of Eugene Meyer.jpg September 16, 1930 May 10, 1933 Herbert Hoover
6 Eugene Robert Black
May 19, 1933 August 15, 1934 Franklin D. Roosevelt
FDR in 1933.jpg
7 Marriner S. Eccles
Marriner Eccles.jpg November 15, 1934 February 3, 1948[12]
8 Thomas B. McCabe
April 15, 1948 April 2, 1951 Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman.jpg
9 William M. Martin
William McChesney Martin jr.jpg April 2, 1951 February 1, 1970
10 Arthur F. Burns
ArthurBurns USArmyPhoto 1955.jpg February 1, 1970 January 31, 1978 Richard Nixon
Richard M. Nixon, ca. 1935 - 1982 - NARA - 530679.jpg
11 G. William Miller
G. William Miller.jpg March 8, 1978 August 6, 1979 Jimmy Carter
Carter cropped.jpg
12 Paul Volcker
Paulvolcker.jpg August 6, 1979 August 11, 1987
13 Alan Greenspan
Alan Greenspan color photo portrait.jpg August 11, 1987 January 31, 2006[13] Ronald Reagan
Official Portrait of President Reagan 1981-cropped.jpg
14 Ben Bernanke
Ben Bernanke official portrait.jpg February 1, 2006 January 31, 2014 George W. Bush
15 Janet Yellen
Janet Yellen official Federal Reserve portrait.jpg February 1, 2014[14] Incumbent Barack Obama
Obama portrait crop.jpg

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "FRB: Who are the members of the Federal Reserve Board, and how are they selected?". 2014-01-31. Retrieved 2015-04-24. 
  2. ^ see 12 U.S.C. § 242
  3. ^ "Senate Confirms Yellen as Fed Chairwoman". New York Times. Retrieved January 6, 2014. 
  4. ^ "The Reserve Board Nominations". The Independent. July 20, 1914. Retrieved August 21, 2012. 
  5. ^ Meltzer, Allan H. (2003). A history of the Federal Reserve: Volume 1, 1913-1951. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 
  6. ^ "The Structure of the Federal Reserve System". Retrieved 2015-04-24. 
  7. ^ Federal Reserve (January 16, 2009). "Board of Governors FAQ". Federal Reserve. Retrieved January 16, 2009. 
  8. ^ 12 U.S.C. § 244
  9. ^ "Federal Reserve Bank Presidents". The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Retrieved December 8, 2007. 
  10. ^ "Chairs". Membership of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 1914–present. The Federal Reserve Board. February 3, 2014. Retrieved February 10, 2014. 
  11. ^ Chairs were designated Governors before August 23, 1935.
  12. ^ Served as Chair pro tempore from February 3, 1948 to April 15, 1948.
  13. ^ Served as Chair pro tempore from March 3, 1996 to June 20, 1996.
  14. ^ "Econoday Economic Report: FYI January 30, 2014". 2014-02-01. Retrieved 2015-04-24. 


External links[edit]