The new president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is the first African-American to head one of the Fed’s 12 regional banks.

Raphael Bostic, a professor of public policy at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, will become the 15th president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta effective June 5.

Bostic succeeds Dennis Lockhart, who retired from the Atlanta Fed on Feb. 28. Lockhart took the reins at the Atlanta Fed in March 2007, led the bank through the Great Recession and put Atlanta on the world financial map. He replaced Jack Guynn, who retired in October 2006.

The Wall Street Journal reported the Fed has been under growing pressure from lawmakers and activists to improve the diversity of its leadership. Of the central bank’s 16 governors and bank presidents, 15 are white, 12 are men and 10 have a Ph.D. in economics. None are black or Hispanic. Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari is the son of Indian immigrants. Three African-Americans have served on the Fed’s Board of Governors in its 104-year history.

Bostic is a former Obama administration housing official. From 2009 to 2012, he was assistant secretary for Policy Development and Research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He also worked at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors from 1995 to 2001, serving as an economist and then a senior economist in the monetary and financial studies section, where his work on the Community Reinvestment Act earned him a special achievement award. While working at the Federal Reserve, he served as special assistant to HUD’s assistant secretary of policy development and research in 1999, and also was a professional lecturer at American University in 1998.

Bostic currently is a board member of Freddie Mac, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and Abode Communities. He is a fellow of the National Association of Public Administration, vice president of the Association of Public Policy and Management, a member of the board of trustees of Enterprise Community Partners, and a research advisory board member of the Reinvestment Fund.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta participates in setting national monetary policy, supervises numerous banking organizations and provides a variety of payment services to financial institutions and the U.S. government. It is part of the central bank of the United States and its territory covers the Sixth Federal Reserve District, which includes Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and portions of Louisiana.

Bostic now represents the Sixth Federal Reserve District at meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee, the policymaking body within the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy for the nation.

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