Courtesy of Federal Reserve
You probably don’t think about the Minneapolis Federal Reserve a whole lot—and rightly so. One of 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks nationally, its primary function is to implement monetary policy and act as an independent government-lending agent and safe depository for federal money. Fed banks aren’t sexy. They’re kinda-nerdy places typically run by kinda-nerdy economists, like Minneapolis Fed outgoing president Narayana Kocherlakota. That’s why it’s interesting that on January 1, the Minneapolis Fed’s reins go to one of the most polarizing and enigmatic financial figures of his generation, Neel Kashkari. A Goldman Sachs-er turned embattled Assistant Secretary of the Treasury who oversaw the dispersal of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), Kashkari also spent time as an aerospace engineer, briefly became a hermit at a desolate cabin, and ran for governor of California. All before he was 42. Now he’s a local and one of the most interesting things to happen to the Minneapolis Fed since, well, forever.
A brief history of the singular Neel Kashkari
- 1973: Born in Akron, Ohio.
- 1991: Graduates from a prep school in Hudson, Ohio.
- 1998: Earns a BS and subsequent MS in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
- 1999: Becomes an aerospace engineer for NASA contractor TRW Inc in Redondo Beach, California.
- 2002: Does a career 180 and earns an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Interns at Goldman Sachs. Goes to work at Goldman Sachs’ San Francisco office.
- 2006: Befriends Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO Henry Paulson. When President George H.W. Bush names Paulson Secretary of the Treasury, Kashkari lands a job on his staff as a senior advisor.
- 11/2007: President Bush nominates Kashkari to be Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.
- 10/2008: Is appointed by Paulson to oversee the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program.
- 05/2009: Under the Obama administration, Kashkari resigns his post. He spends the summer holed up in a cabin in Northern California where he chops wood and “detoxes” from his time in D.C.
- 12/2009: Becomes managing director in charge of new investment initiatives at Pimco, an investment firm that had indirectly benefitted from the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
- 01/2013: Resigns from Pimco.
- 2014: Unsuccessfully runs for governor of California.
- 11/2015: Is named president and CEO of the Minneapolis Fed.
- 12/2015: Moves to Minnesota.
- He was one of People magazine’s Sexiest Men Alive in 2008.
- He voted for Obama in 2008 . . . but Romney in 2012.
- He’s on Twitter @neelkashkari.
- He's a devoted Cleveland Browns fan.