In his first news conference as head of the world’s leading central bank, Jerome Powell avoided any professorial lectures.
His replies were briefer than his predecessors’. He said nothing of himself personally. He projected the air of an experienced technocrat, more steeped in finance than the complexities of economic theory.
If anyone was wondering how the new chairman of the Federal Reserve would differ from his two immediate predecessors, Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke, Wednesday’s exchange with reporters offered some clues. Powell, unlike the longtime scholars Yellen and Bernanke, is not an economist. He hasn’t spent years delving into why economic growth leaves behind some segments of society.
The chairman instead came across as a consensus builder and only one member of a large committee of policymakers.