The seven members of the Board of Governors are nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. By law, the appointments must yield a “fair representation of the financial, agricultural, industrial, and commercial interests and geographical divisions of the country,” and no two Governors may come from the same Federal Reserve District.
The full term of a Governor is 14 years; appointments are staggered so that one term expires on January 31 of each even-numbered year. A Governor who has served a full term may not be reappointed, but a Governor who was appointed to complete the balance of an unexpired term may be reappointed to a full 14-year term.
Once appointed, Governors may not be removed from office for their policy views. The lengthy terms and staggered appointments are intended to contribute to the insulation of the Board–and the Federal Reserve System as a whole–from day-to-day political pressures to which it might otherwise be subject.
In addition to serving as members of the Board, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Board serve terms of four years, and they may be reappointed to those roles and serve until their terms as Governors expire. The Chairman serves as public spokesperson and representative of the Board and manager of the Board’s staff. The Chairman also presides at Board meetings. Affirming the apolitical nature of the Board, recent Presidents of both major political parties have selected the same person as Board Chairman.
The Congress sets the salaries of the Board members. For 2011, the Chairman’s annual salary is $199,700. The annual salary of the other Board members (including the Vice Chairman) is $179,700.