When Jerome Powell was given the role to lead the Federal Reserve in 2017, people were skeptical. His background was a bit unusual for the job.
He had no formal economic training and a career path that spanned law to investment banking. His predecessors at the Federal Reserve held master degrees in Finance. This man lacked the economic forecasting ability of Greenspan, the monetary policy of Ben Bernanke, and the labor market knowledge that Yellen had.
One reason for Jerome Powell’s appointment to fed was due to his ability to make decisions under unusual circumstances. Previous co-workers touted him as a ‘problem solver’ and someone who could see solutions no one else could.
In 2011, when Republicans made threats to default on their debt, Powell strolled the manicured gardens of Capitol Hill with a binder, calmly urging lawmakers to consider the risks of a default on the economy.
“I never saw him lose his temper” said Richard Fisher, former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. “Jay doesn’t promote himself like so many do in Washington. He likes to do the unglamorous jobs.”
This humble man had traded a lofty job in finance to work for $1 at one of Washington’s quiet think tanks. He paced the halls of Congress urging for calmness and restraint.
Despite his vast wealth, friends of Powell described him as “annoyingly normal”. He ejoys golf and playing guitar in his free time. One of his quirks is the odd abiltiy to repeat people’s sentences backwards to them. One colleague said it’s a reminder of his smarts and how closely he listens.