Ahead for the Fed: Quarles resignation signals big changes

(Nov. 12, 2021) There will soon be two open seats on the Federal Reserve Board – and maybe three as early as January – because of the announced resignation of the former vice chair for supervision on the board, in what could be some big changes ahead for the central bank’s leadership.

Randal K. Quarles – the first and so far only vice chair of the Federal Reserve Board for supervision – announced his retirement from the agency board Monday, effective in late December. In a letter to President Joe Biden (D), Quarles said after four years as a member of the central bank’s board, and end of his term last month as vice chair of supervision, it was time for him to leave.

“It has been a great privilege to work with my colleagues on the Board, throughout the Federal Reserve System, and among the global central banking and regulatory committee,” Quarles wrote.

Quarles’ resignation will leave two open seats on the Fed Board; no successor has yet been named to him as top supervisor for the agency and the White House has made no nominations to fill the soon-to-be two open board seats.

There could be a third opening on the board within two months: the term of Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida expires in January (and, likewise, the White House has been mum on a replacement).

And, there remains the question of who will lead the central bank board for the lion’s share of 2022 and beyond: the term of Jerome H. (“Jay”) Powell as chair of the board expires in February. He may continue to serve on the board after that, since his term as a governor runs until January 2028.

Quarles’ four-year term as vice chair for supervision ended last month. He now serves as chairman of the international Financial Stability Board (FSB), which works to coordinate financial stability regulatory programs across the globe. However, the term for that office ends at year’s end.

A former banker, Wall Street lawyer and Treasury Department official, the 64-year-old Quarles was nominated to the position by President Donald Trump (R) in September, 2017; he joined the board in October. His current term was to run until 2032.


Randal K. Quarles submits resignation as a member of the Federal Reserve Board, effective at the end of December