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Richmond Fed chooses Thomas Barkin as president

© Reuters.  Richmond Fed chooses Thomas Barkin as president© Reuters. Richmond Fed chooses Thomas Barkin as president

By Jason Lange

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond on Monday named Thomas Barkin, an executive at global consulting firm McKinsey & Co, as its next president, a position that will have a vote on U.S. interest rate policy next year.

Barkin studied economics as an undergraduate at Harvard University and has postgraduate degrees in business and law, also from Harvard, but his views on monetary policy are not widely known.

In a statement released by the Richmond Fed, Barkin said he will study the Richmond Fed’s district closely and bring “these perspectives forward as part of my monetary policy considerations and contributions.”

The Richmond Fed’s district includes North and South Carolina, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and most of West Virginia.

Fed policymakers have signaled they expect to raise rates this month and another three times next year as part of a campaign to keep the U.S. economy from overheating.

Barkin, 56, will take the helm in Richmond on Jan. 1 following the abrupt exit in April of Jeffrey Lacker after admitting a conversation he had with a Wall Street analyst in 2012 may have disclosed confidential information about Fed policy options.

Lacker had been one of the U.S. central bank’s most reliable proponents of interest rate increases and had led the Richmond Fed since 2004.

The Richmond Fed is one of 12 regional reserve banks that are part of the U.S. central bank. They are privately owned by law and their presidents must be approved by the Fed’s Washington-based Board of Governors. The governors in Washington are nominated by the U.S. President and approved by the Senate.

The regional Fed presidents take turns as voting members of the Fed’s committee that sets interest rates. The regional banks also process payments, help regulate banks and participate in monitoring cybersecurity risks.

Margaret Lewis, the chair of the Richmond Fed’s board of directors, said Barkin’s experience in information technology was “critical” for the bank’s responsibilities in technology efforts.

Barkin previously served on the Atlanta Fed’s board of directors from 2009 to 2014, chairing it in 2013 and 2014.

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