February 9, 2023

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Economist Austin Goolsby has been named the next president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Economist Austin Goolsby will take over as chair of the Chicago Federal Reserve early next year as the central bank weighs crucial policy moves ahead, according to Thursday’s announcement.

Goolsby will formally take the seat on January 9, 2023 and end a term begun by the retiring Charles Evans that expires February 28, 2026.

Goolsby is currently a professor at the prestigious University of Chicago Booth School of Business and previously served as Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers from 2010 to 2011 under then-President Barack Obama.

“Austin is an exceptional choice to be the next President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He is an extremely accomplished economist with extensive experience in politics and a strong commitment to public service,” Helen Gayle, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, said in a statement.

Goolsby comes to the Chicago Fed at a sensitive time for the central bank.

As part of an effort to fight the highest levels of inflation in more than 40 years, the Fed raised its benchmark interest rate sixfold this year and is expected to continue the increases at least through the first part of 2023. Some economists worry that the Fed is overtightening and could cause in the doldrums.

In his recent remarks to CNBC, Goolsby noted that the indicated slowdown in some inflation data points recently probably won’t be enough to get the Fed to back off too much from its policy tightening.

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“If you’re collecting 75 basis points at the meeting, we’re going to have to figure out the timing of the pivot,” he said, following the October CPI report that showed inflation rose less-than-expected on a monthly basis. “Unless and until core monthly inflation is lowered into a comfortable range, I think the voices saying ‘slow down, calm down’ will remain a bit muted.”

Goolsby will not be a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee on rate-setting in 2023. However, he will still be able to express his opinion on policy and will be a voter in 2025.

A statement from the Chicago Federal Reserve announcing the appointment said the new district chair is a “leading experimental economist” whose research spans a variety of topics. The statement also notes that Goolsby has been an advocate of alternative measures of inflation.

Goolsby called the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago “one of the crown jewels” of the central banking system.

“I am excited and humbled to serve the public in this role,” he said in a statement. “These have been challenging and unprecedented times for the economy. The Bank plays an important role in helping the region navigate it through and prosper into the future.”

The Fed has seen significant turnover lately with both governors and regional chairs rotating in and out as voting members.

New members include regional presidents Lori Logan of Dallas and Susan Collins of Boston, as well as governors Philip Jefferson and Lisa Cook.