Jerome H Powell has been a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System since May 25, 2012, and was appointed by then-President Barack Obama to fill an unexpired term. He was reappointed by Obama and sworn in on June 16, 2014, for a term that ends on January 31, 2028.

Powell took charge as Fed chair on February 5, 2018, after being nominated for that position by then-President Donald Trump and confirmed by the US Senate. His four-year-term as the Fed chair expired on February 5, 2022. President Joe Biden renominated him for a second term in November 2021, and he was sworn in again in May 2022.

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Early life and education

Powell was born on February 4, 1953, in Washington. His father was an attorney, and his mother was a mathematician. He received a bachelor’s degree in politics from Princeton University in 1975 and earned a law degree from Georgetown University in 1979. While at Georgetown, Powell was editor-in-chief of the Georgetown Law Journal.

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Professional journey

Powell served as an assistant secretary and as undersecretary of the treasury under President George HW Bush. His responsibilities included financial institutions and the treasury debt market. Previously, he was an investment banker and lawyer in New York City.

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Despite the recent letup in oil prices, the Fed chair Powell and his foreign counterparts fear that inflation may be getting out of control—the very thing that independent central banks, like the Fed and the E.C.B., were set up to avoid. “We may be reaching a tipping point, beyond which an inflationary psychology spreads and becomes entrenched,” the Basel-based Bank for International Settlements, which is a kind of central bank for central banks, warned last month, The New Yorker reported. Powell has received the message and appears determined to raise interest rates until inflation has fallen appreciably over an extended period.

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Even as the Fed chair has made hawkish comments, he has also insisted that a recession isn’t inevitable. At his press conference after last month’s Fed meeting, he said that the American economy is “very strong and well positioned to handle tighter monetary policy.” But, if the Fed and other central banks did such a poor job of predicting the surge in inflation last year, what reason is there to expect that they will get things exactly right from here? The honest answer is not very much, The New Yorker added.

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Powell married Elissa Leonard in 1985 at the Episcopal Washington National Cathedral. The couple has three children. Bloomberg News described Powell as Wall Street’s Head of State.