Lawmakers and advocacy groups have called out the lack of diversity in the reported nominee for president of the New York Federal Reserve, according to a Bloomberg report.
The backlash follows a report by The Wall Street Journal that John Williams, currently president of the San Francisco branch of the Federal Reserve, is the leading candidate to succeed William Dudley, who announced his retirement from the role in November.
Aside from supervising the banks in the nation’s financial capital, the president of the New York Fed also has the permanent power to vote on monetary policy as vice chairman of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee.
With Williams’ appointment potentially continuing the bank’s history of white, male leadership, organizations including advocacy group Fed Up have criticized the reported nomination. Jordan Haedtler, campaign manager for the group, expressed dismay over the “opaque” selection process. The group also said it would renew calls for a more public selection process for regional presidents.
Washington-based nonprofit Better Markets echoed Fed Up’s criticism, saying “the Fed continues to be a black box, keeping the public in the dark about what it does and why.”
Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) also voiced out concerns about the reported pick. Booker noted that a woman or a person of color has never led the New York Fed, adding that no one should be left on the sidelines when creating an inclusive and sustainable economy.
Warren, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, said that Williams and the co-chairs of the search committee should testify on his qualifications as well as the selection process in case he is eventually nominated.
Observers said the search process passed over well-credentialed candidates, including Mary Miller, a former Treasury official, and Peter Blair Henry, dean emeritus of New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Bloomberg reported.