NY Fed names Williams to top post amid political backlash

NEW YORK, April 3 (Reuters) - John Williams, the genial president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and a top monetary economist, was promoted on Tuesday to head the New York Fed in a politically explosive decision likely to ramp up criticism that the bank ignored more diverse candidates.

The New York Fed’s directors said Williams will on June 18 succeed William Dudley in what is seen as the second-most influential position at the U.S. central bank. In selecting a white man and long-time Fed insider, they said the search was “exhaustive and inclusive,” published a timeline of the process, and highlighted Williams’ engagement with local communities and international partners.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell had a bigger hand than predecessors in stressing the need to select someone with monetary expertise, according to people familiar with his role in the process. That suggests Williams, 55, could in effect become the face of the current policy of “gradual” U.S. interest-rate hikes, even as the New York Fed president’s traditional role as financial markets expert could diminish.

Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Andrea Ricci