Former Federal Reserve Vice Chair Roger Ferguson Un-Joins Apollo in Quick Reversal for Star Hire

By Sabrina Willmer

 Roger Ferguson’s marquee job in private equity has ended before it even began. 

Less than a month after Apollo Global Management Inc. announced that the former Federal Reserve vice chairman would join the firm, it abruptly reversed course Monday, announcing that Ferguson won’t be signing on after all. 

Roger Ferguson Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

The given reason: Ferguson, 70, belatedly informed Apollo that he still has unspecified commitments with his prior employer, pension giant TIAA, where he was chief executive officer until the end of March. Ferguson declined to comment.

The reversal comes at a critical juncture for Apollo and billionaire co-founder Leon Black, who stepped aside earlier this year following revelations about his years-long relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. It also comes as President Joe Biden has a chance to reshape the Fed, with as many as four vacancies, although there’s no indication yet that Ferguson is being considered for one of them.

Read more: Black’s Apollo Exit Follows ‘Deeply Trying’ Fallout Over Epstein

“Roger recently informed us that he has certain ongoing commitments with his prior employer and they are preventing him from working with us at this time,” Apollo said in an emailed statement. “We think very highly of Roger and wish him all the best.”

Read more: Apollo Hires Roger Ferguson to Take On New Vice Chairman Role

In an Oct. 18 statement, Apollo said Ferguson would help the firm originate deals, deepen relationships across the financial industry, expand in retirement services and work on strategic asset-management initiatives.

Ferguson had guided TIAA through the 2008 financial crisis and doubled assets under management to more than $1 trillion. He was also vice chairman of the Fed from 1999 to 2006 and had been a contender to join President Joe Biden’s administration. His decision to leave TIAA was announced two weeks after the November 2020 election. 

Read more: TIAA CEO Ferguson, a Potential Biden Appointee, to Retire

Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s current term in that post expires in February and Biden said on Nov. 2 that he’d make a decision “fairly quickly.”

Biden’s scope to reshape the leadership of the Fed widened further last week when Governor Randal Quarles announced he would step down before year-end. Quarles’s tenure as vice chair for supervision expired in October, but he could have stayed on as a governor until 2032, so his exit hands Biden yet another slot to fill.

Vice Chair Richard Clarida’s term as a governor also expires at the end of January, bringing the total number of open positions to four on the seven-member board.

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