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Banking Harvard professor, Ex-Goldman exec Kaplan to lead Dallas Fed

Harvard professor, Ex-Goldman exec Kaplan to lead Dallas Fed

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WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas has named Robert Steven Kaplan, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive who left to teach at Harvard in 2006, as its new president.

Kaplan, 58, will take his post Sept. 8, the Dallas Fed said Monday in a press release. He will replace Richard Fisher, who was president from April 2005 to March 2015. Helen Holcomb, the Dallas Fed’s first vice president, has served as interim head since Fisher retired.

The new president, who won’t vote on policy until 2017, is joining the Fed at a pivotal time. The U.S. central bank’s policy makers are weighing when and how quickly to raise interest rates, which have been held near-zero since 2008.

Kaplan is a professor of management practice and a senior associate dean at Harvard Business School. Before joining Harvard, he spent 22 years at Goldman Sachs and was vice chairman in charge of investment banking when he departed.

The policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee has 12 voting seats. Eight of those are reserved for the bank’s board of governors and the president of the New York Fed. The presidents of the other 11 regional banks rotate through four remaining spots on an annual basis, and the new Dallas Fed chief will occupy one of those slots.

Criteria for the new president included recognized stature in economics and finance or banking, with a Ph.D. preferred, based on a job description provided by the Dallas Fed. A commitment to the Dallas Fed district, which covers Texas, southern New Mexico and northern Louisiana, also ranked among the desired qualities.

Kaplan grew up in Prairie Village, Kansas, and received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard.

The new president fills the shoes of an outspoken predecessor. Fisher, 66 and now a senior adviser at Barclays Plc, was a consistent critic of the Fed’s unprecedented policy actions to support the U.S. economy.

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