Atlanta Fed Presidential Search

Media Contact

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President and CEO Dennis P. Lockhart has announced that he plans to step down from his position on February 28, 2017. President Lockhart has served with distinction since March 1, 2007.

The Class B and C directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (those directors who are not bankers) have formed a committee to conduct a nationwide search to identify a broad, diverse, and highly qualified candidate pool for the next president. Spencer Stuart, an executive search firm, will assist in the search process.

The search committee will interview the top candidates and select a finalist. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System will then interview the final candidate. Subject to Board of Governors' approval, the Bank's Class B and C directors will appoint the new president.

Search Committee

Thomas A. Fanning (Chair)
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer
Southern Company, Atlanta, Georgia
Myron A. Gray
President, U.S. Operations
United Parcel Service, Atlanta, Georgia
Michael J. Jackson (Deputy Chair)
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and President
AutoNation Inc., Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Jonathan T. M. Reckford
Chief Executive Officer
Habitat for Humanity International, Atlanta, Georgia
Photo of Elizabeth Smith
Elizabeth A. Smith
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Bloomin' Brands Inc., Tampa, Florida
José S. Suquet
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer
Pan-American Life Insurance Group, New Orleans, Louisiana
(term ended 12/31/16)

How a Fed President Is Selected

Thank You for Your Input

Our public recommendation period has now ended. We thank those who expressed interest and recommended candidates. All submissions have been forwarded to our executive search firm, Spencer Stuart, for proper vetting.

View the Public Webcast

The Atlanta Fed is committed to making the search process as transparent as possible. The Bank hosted a public webcast on October 6, 2016. Tom Fanning, chair of the Atlanta Fed's board of directors as well as the Bank's presidential search committee, joined John Harpole from Spencer Stuart, the executive search firm assisting in the process, in explaining the selection process and fielding questions from the public.

View the webcast here.

More Information

What Does It Take to Be a Federal Reserve Bank President?

The search committee has developed the following summary of desired attributes for the successful candidate:

Monetary policymaker

  • Guides the focus of Atlanta Fed economic research to inform the monetary policy debate based on demonstrated experience in finance, economics, and commerce.
  • Gathers insightful, anecdotal regional economic intelligence from boards of directors and business and community leaders to inform policy decisions.
  • Contributes regional insights and independent views on national and international economic issues to the Federal Open Market Committee.
  • Communicates monetary policy issues and actions to constituents.
  • Serves as senior policy adviser for supervisory matters and payments policy and related issues.

Chief executive officer

  • Sets and communicates strategic vision for the Atlanta Fed and develops effective strategies and goals to achieve them.
  • Models integrity, intellect, character, executive disposition, personal leadership, and communication skills needed to be a top leader and to energize, empower, and retain the Bank's deeply talented professional team.
  • Leads strategies to identify and mitigate organizational risks.
  • Collaborates with the board of directors on issues of strategic direction and policy; keeps board members informed of ongoing operations and progress on business goals and objectives.
  • Develops a strong and diverse group of leaders for the Atlanta Fed, fostering a culture of openness, personal growth, and advancement.
  • Exhibits a deep personal commitment to diversity and inclusion, with a passion for creating an environment that allows the best talent and ideas to thrive.
  • Represents the Reserve Bank in the community and promotes its presence as an involved and supportive institution; builds goodwill among constituencies.

Federal Reserve System leader

  • Exhibits a dedication to the Federal Reserve System's mission and a commitment to public service.
  • Engages and cooperates with other regional Reserve Bank presidents and Board of Governors members in setting and executing System-wide initiatives and enacting System policies.
  • Ensures that the Atlanta Fed contributes strong performance and quality and promotes staff contributions to System initiatives.

The full position specification can be found here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of the Federal Reserve Bank president?

The president of a Federal Reserve Bank is the chief executive officer of the Bank. The president is responsible for all the Bank's activities, including monetary policy, bank supervision and regulation, and payments services. In addition, the president serves on the Federal Reserve's chief monetary policymaking body, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).

How is a Federal Reserve Bank president selected?

The process for selecting a Federal Reserve Bank president is set forth in the Federal Reserve Act. Subject to the approval of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the president is appointed by the Reserve Bank's Class B and C directors (those directors who are not bankers).

To conduct the search, the Reserve Bank's board of directors forms a search committee composed of Class B and C directors. That committee hires a search firm to help identify a broad, diverse, highly qualified candidate pool. The committee considers a large nationwide pool of candidates, both within and outside the Federal Reserve System, who meet the position's qualifications.

Appointments are subject to the approval of the Board of Governors, who interview the final candidate. Following this approval, the Bank's Class B and C directors then formally appoint a candidate.

(For more details, see

What are the responsibilities of the president, and what attributes are you looking for in a new Federal Reserve Bank president?

The Board of Governors website describes the responsibilities and notes that the Federal Reserve Banks seek candidates who can:

  • guide the focus of the Bank's economic research and gather economic intelligence through interactions with the Bank's board of directors and other business and community contacts,
  • provide keen insights to Federal Open Market Committee policy discussions,
  • communicate clearly about monetary policy,
  • be a strong chief executive officer of the Bank,
  • ensure that the Bank maintains an effective system of bank supervision by faithfully carrying out its delegated authority from the Board of Governors, and
  • make strong personal contributions to matters requiring collective System action or direction.

What is the length of term of a Federal Reserve Bank president?

The president of a Federal Reserve Bank is appointed for a term of five years. The terms of all the presidents of the 12 District Banks run concurrently, ending on the last day of February of years numbered 6 and 1 (for example, 2016 and 2021). The appointment of a president who takes office after a term has begun ends upon the completion of that term. A president of a Reserve Bank may be reappointed after serving a full term or an incomplete term. Reserve Bank presidents are subject to mandatory retirement at 65 years of age. However, presidents initially appointed after age 55 can, at the option of the board of directors, be permitted to serve until attaining 10 years of service in the office or age 75, whichever comes first.

What is the timeline for selecting a Federal Reserve Bank president?

The search committee is now in the process of identifying the most highly qualified pool of candidates. However, there is not a predetermined timeline. What is most important is that the search committee identify the most highly qualified candidates and follow a defined process in consultation with the Board of Governors.

If a new president is not appointed by March 1, 2017, then First Vice President Marie Gooding would serve as interim president until the appointment process for a new president is completed.

What role does the public play in the selection of a Reserve Bank president?

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is committed to fostering a transparent and accessible search process. Our public recommendation period has now ended. We thank those who expressed interest and recommended candidates. We have forwarded all submissions to our executive search firm, Spencer Stuart, for proper vetting. The Atlanta Fed hosted a live webcast in 2016 to explain the search process and answer questions from the general public.