Alum and Harvard Board of Overseers Member Steps Down as Vice Chair of Federal Reserve Board

Roger W. Ferguson ’73, a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers, announced his resignation from his position as vice chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board of Governors yesterday.

Ferguson, who is reportedly a friend of Lawrence H. Summers dating back to the two men’s days as graduate students at Harvard, will officially step down April 28.

“My service on the Board has been rewarding and stimulating, and it is now time for me to pursue other professional opportunities,” Ferguson, a former Dunster House resident, wrote in his letter of resignation to President George W. Bush.

Ferguson, who did not specify any reasons for his resignation in his letter, declined to comment for this article. But it is publicly known that Ferguson and Ben S. Bernanke ’75, who became chairman of the Board earlier this year on Feb. 1, disagreed on whether the Federal Reserve should announce an inflation goal.

“Roger has made invaluable contribution to the Federal Reserve and to the country,” Bernanke said in a statement released to several news sources yesterday. “He led the Fed’s first response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was a strong advocate for increased transparency of monetary policy, and [was] able [to] represent the Federal Reserve in important international fora.”

In his letter, Ferguson highlighted some of the work the Federal Reserve focused on during his time there.

“The environment in which the Fed made monetary policy was complex,” Ferguson wrote in his letter. “Perhaps less visible to the general public, the Fed also worked to enhance the transparency of monetary policy.”

Ferguson was first named to the Federal Reserve in 1997 under former U.S. President Bill Clinton to fill an unexpired term ending Jan. 30, 2000.

In 2001, Ferguson was reappointed by Bush for another term that was set to expire in 2014.

Harpel Professor of Capital Formation and Growth Jeffrey A. Frankel, who was appointed to the Council of Economic Advisers under Clinton, said that outgoing University President Lawrence H. Summers initially suggested Ferguson to Clinton.

“As a Clintonite, I’m sad to see all the Clinton appointees drop one by one,” Frankel said yesterday.

The Board of Overseers, composed of 30 members, is the University’s second-highest governing body.

Members of the Board of Overseers are elected by the Harvard Alumni Association.