Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell swore in three members of the central bank's board of directors on Wednesday, including Philip Jefferson as vice chair and Adriana Kugler, to fill a vacant seat as the central bank's first Latin American governor.
The officials, all of whom were appointed by President Joe Biden, are not expected to change Fed policy any time soon, as most economists expect the Fed to raise its key interest rate at its next meeting on April 19-20. September will remain unchanged. Still, the Fed could raise interest rates again this year if inflation doesn't cool quickly enough. A report on Wednesday showed that inflation was slowing, but only gradually.
As the Fed wrestles with how to fine-tune interest rates going forward, the three officials could argue against further rate hikes or even push for rate cuts out of fear that too high interest rates could tip the economy into recession. As Fed governors, they will vote on interest rate policy as well as changes to financial regulations at the Fed's eight annual meetings.
Kugler, a Georgetown University economist, will fill a seat on the Fed's seven-member Board of Governors vacated by Lael Brainard, who left the Fed to become a top economic adviser to President Joe Biden. Kugler will serve the remainder of Brainard's term until January 31, 2026.
Kugler, whose background is in international business and labor economics, took a leave of absence from Georgetown to serve as the United States representative on the World Bank Board of Directors. During the Obama administration, she served as chief economist of the Department of Labor from September 2011 to January 2013.
Jefferson, who first joined the board last year, was sworn in as vice chairman and will therefore work closely with Powell on interest rate policy. His term as vice chairman ends on September 7, 2027, but he can remain on the board as governor until 2036.
Jefferson was a senior administrator at Davidson College in North Carolina before being nominated by Biden and has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Virginia.
Lisa Cook, the first Black woman appointed Fed governor, has been sworn in for a second term that ends in 2038. Cook also joined the board last year to fill an unexpired term. Cook was a professor of economics and international relations at Michigan State University and also taught at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. She was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.