John Williams assumes influential role at most powerful regional Fed bank

John Williams assumed his new role as head of the New York Fed on Monday, after being appointed to the powerful post in early April replacing longtime president William Dudley who is retiring.

As he takes over the second most influential position within the U.S. central banking system, Williams will be awarded a permanent seat – and vote – on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). He has served as president at the San Francisco branch since 2011, where he succeeded former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen.

Prior to 2011, Williams served as executive vice president and director of research for the San Francisco Fed.

In a statement issued on Monday, Williams said he will remain committed to transparency, independence of thought and building a diverse workplace at the New York Fed.

“I start my first day with a deep commitment to securing the stability of our financial system and prosperity for our economy,” Williams added.

In an outgoing interview with Dow Jones, Dudley noted the culture at the New York Fed “is not perfect” while indicating he and Williams are on the same page.

The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest by a quarter percentage point on Wednesday, and is expected to raise rates two more times this year. As the central bank brings interest rates closer to “neutral” levels, meaning they are neither accelerating nor slowing economic growth, Williams suggested in an interview with Reuters this month that rates may even exceed neutral, which he defined around 2.5%, for a period of time.

“I don’t view our policy path as just getting to neutral and saying, ‘okay we’re done’” he said.

The Fed funds rate is currently in the 1.75% to 2% range.

Williams started his career with the Federal Reserve System as an economist at the Board of Governors in 1994.