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St. Louis Fed looking for new president

File photo of Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis President Poole speaking at a Bank of Korea seminar in Seoul
William Poole's remarks last month that the Fed wouldn't need to intervene in the stock market short of a calamity ruffled feathers on Wall Street and on Capitol Hill.You Sung-ho / Reuters file
/ Source: The Associated Press

William Poole, the straight-talking president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, will retire in March — ending a 10-year run at the helm.

The regional Fed bank announced Monday that it is starting a search for Poole’s successor.

Poole, 70, was named president in March 1998, and is currently a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee, the group that includes Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke that sets interest rate policy in the United States.

Fed rules require a president who began service after the age of 55 to retire upon reaching 10 years of service.

In addition to being an economist and a respected academic, Poole is a renaissance man.

He likes to sail, camp and bike. He also enjoys puttering in his woodworking shop.

Years of sailing and competitive racing have left Poole with a philosophy that can be applied to his job as a Fed policymaker: Have a plan but be prepared to shift gears if the weather — or economic conditions — warrant.

“If you are a slave to your instruments, you may find yourself in trouble. You have to keep your eyes open as well,” he told The Associated Press in an interview earlier this year.

When extra help is needed, Poole can always peer into a crystal ball perched on his desk at work. The crystal ball rests on a wooden stand, crafted by one of his sons.

Irl Engelhardt, chairman of the St. Louis Fed’s board of directors, will head a search committee to identify candidates to succeed Poole.

Poole’s remarks last month that the Fed wouldn’t need to intervene in the stock market short of a calamity ruffled feathers on Wall Street and on Capitol Hill.

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said the remarks were reckless and called on Poole to resign. The Senate has no role in confirming a successor to Poole.