Full article, because having a WSJ sub rocks:
The Federal Reserve chose a labor leader to succeed a former Goldman Sachs executive as the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of New York's private-sector board of directors.
Denis Hughes, president of the New York state branch of the AFL-CIO, had been serving as acting chairman of the New York Fed board since May, when Stephen Friedman stepped down from the position.
Mr. Friedman, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. chairman and adviser to President George W. Bush, had faced questions about his purchases of Goldman stock while serving on the New York Fed's board.
The Fed decision formalizes Mr. Hughes's role as chairman through the end of 2009. The Fed board in Washington will announce in November or December who will serve as chairman in 2010. Columbia University President Lee Bollinger was named deputy chairman, a position that Mr. Hughes previously held. Mr. Bollinger has been a New York Fed director since January 2007.
The New York Fed chairmanship typically has gone to prominent Wall Street executives or academics. The ascension of a labor leader is a new twist for the New York Fed and a sign of the public pressure the Fed has been under to loosen its close ties to Wall Street.
"In the old days, labor was on the outside looking in," said Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University.
The main job for chairmen of regional Fed bank boards is to choose the regional banks' presidents, who play a role in the Fed's interest-rate decisions. But the New York Fed already hired a new president, Bill Dudley, in January. The board also provides input to the Fed on the regional economy.
By law, each of the 12 regional Fed banks has nine directors, six chosen by local bankers and three -- including the chairman -- chosen by the Federal Reserve Board in Washington.
—Michael Corkery contributed to this article.