Credit: Screenshot via White House video

A local man has been tapped by President Donald Trump to serve as the next chair of the Federal Reserve.

Trump on Thursday nominated Jerome H. Powell, a resident of Chevy Chase Village, to oversee the country’s central banking system. The Senate must confirm Powell and if it does he would begin serving in the role in February after Janet Yellen’s term as chair expires.

“He’s strong, he’s committed, he’s smart,” Trump said about the nomination Thursday. “If he’s confirmed by the Senate, he’ll put his considerable talents and experience to work leading our nation’s independent central bank.”

Powell said Thursday at the Rose Garden ceremony said the financial system now is stronger than it was before the recession and he will continue to work to make sure the Federal Reserve responds to evolving risks.

“Inside the Federal Reserve we understand that monetary policy decisions matter for American families and communities,” Powell said. “I strongly share that sense of mission and I’m committed to making decisions with objectivity based on the best available evidence in the longstanding tradition of monetary policy independence.”

Powell grew up in Chevy Chase and is a graduate of Georgetown Preparatory School in North Bethesda. He graduated from the school in 1971 before attending Princeton University and later Georgetown Law School.


“We are proud to have a son of Georgetown Prep lead our nation’s central banking system,” the Rev. Scott Pilarz, president of Georgetown Prep, said in a statement. “On behalf of all of us at Georgetown Prep, we congratulate Jerome on his nomination and offer our prayers and best wishes to him and his family.”

Powell’s wife, Elissa Leonard, is a movie producer and writer who also serves as the vice chair of the Chevy Chase Village’s Board of Managers. The couple has three children.

On Thursday, Powell thanked his family, his parents and Trump in his speech.


“I want to thank my wife Elissa for her love, support and wise counsel. Without her, quite honestly I would not be standing here,” Powell said. “We’re thinking today of our three children and the world they’re inheriting.”

Powell, 64, is a Republican who has served on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors since 2012.

Prior to joining the board, Powell was a visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C., working on federal and state fiscal issues. From 1997 through 2005, he was a partner at the D.C.-based private equity firm The Carlyle Group, according to his Federal Reserve biography.


He also served as an assistant secretary and undersecretary of the Treasury during the President George H.W. Bush administration.  

Powell’s family has a lengthy history in the Chevy Chase area. His father, also named Jerome Powell, was valedictorian of his class at Georgetown Prep and a past president of the Chevy Chase Club, according to his Washington Post obituary.

Powell’s brother, Matthew, and uncles John, Austin and Francis Powell, as well as cousins John, Thomas and Gregory Powell, were also Georgetown Prep graduates.


Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who Trump nominated earlier this year and who was later confirmed, is also an alumnus of Georgetown Prep.