Philadelphia Fed President Plosser, a leading 'hawk,' will retire in March

Economic Indicators Associated Press

Charles Plosser, a leading inflation "hawk" at the Federal Reserve, announced Monday that he plans to retire March 1.

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Plosser, who has been president of the Fed's Philadelphia regional bank since August 2006, has been a leader of the officials known as hawks for their concerns that a continuation of low-interest rate policies could ignite inflation.

He has dissented at the past two Fed meetings, when the central bank voted to maintain its plan to keep a key short-term rate at a record low for a "considerable time."

Plosser, 66, would have given up his vote on the Fed's policymaking committee next year as part of the normal rotation of votes among the regional bank presidents. And the rules governing the Fed's 12 regional banks would have required his retirement in 2016.

The regional bank presidents face mandatory retirement at age 65 or 10 years after first being appointed if they were appointed after 55, as Plosser was.

The presidents of the regional banks are selected by the board of directors for each bank. James Nevels, head of the Swarthmore Group and chairman of the Philadelphia Fed's board of directors, said a search committee would begin looking for a successor to Plosser.

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In a statement, Fed Chair Janet Yellen praised Plosser as an "insightful and dedicated leader" and said his "keen insights, deep analysis and good humor" would be missed in the Fed's deliberations.

Plosser and Richard Fisher, president of the Fed's Dallas regional bank, dissented at last week's policy meeting. They, along with Presidents Esther George of the Kansas City Fed and Jeffrey Lacker of the Richmond Fed, have warned of the risks they see in keeping rates too low for too long. The worry that a result could be runaway inflation or dangerous asset bubbles like the one in home prices that triggered the last recession.

Yellen enjoys broad support among other Fed officials who tend to think the risk of inflation remains low and that the greater threat to the economy comes from subpar growth and a still less-than-healthy job market.