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Raphael Bostic, a professor at the University of Southern California and former housing official in the Obama administration, has been selected as the new president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, becoming the first African-American ever to head one of the Fed’s 12 regional banks.

Mr Bostic will succeed Dennis Lockhart, who held the top post in Atlanta since 2007 until stepping down on February 28. Mr Bostic is currently a professor in governance and public enterprise at the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. Between 2009 and 2012, he was assistant secretary for policy development and research at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development under then-President Barack Obama, where he advised the HUD secretary on policy and research.

Prior to arriving at USC in 2001, Mr Bostic was an economist and then senior economist with the Federal Reserve Board of Governors from 1995 until 2001.

After Mr Lockhart announced his plans to step down, several African-American lawmakers urged Fed officials to consider diversity when appointing his successor. They noted that while there have been a few minority members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, never before has a Latino or African-American held one of those posts, they said, pointing out that Atlanta has a large black population.

Atlanta Fed board chairman Thomas Fanning said in a statement that Mr Bostic is a “a seasoned and versatile leader, bringing with him a wealth of experience in public policy and academia. Raphael also has significant experience leading complex organizations and managing interdisciplinary teams. He is a perfect bridge between people and policy.”

Mr Bostic’s appointment will be effective June 5, the bank said in a statement on Monday.

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