After a push for more diversity among its leadership, the Federal Reserve has appointed Raphael Bostic, who served as an official in the Obama administration, as the new president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the first African-American to lead one of its 12 regional banks.

As president of the Atlanta Fed, Bostic will participate in interest-rate decisions made by the Federal Open Market Committee, composed of the Fed’s 12 regional presidents, who vote on a rotating basis, and the seven members of the Fed’s board in Washington.

The Atlanta Fed covers Georgia, Alabama, Florida and portions of Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. The Federal Reserve has a critical role in setting nationwide monetary policy.

Bostic, 50, served as assistant secretary for Policy Development and Research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 2009 to 2012.

But prior to that, he also worked for the Federal Reserve board in Washington from 1995 to 2001 before leaving to become a professor at USC’s School of Policy, Planning and Development from 2001-2007. He also served as the interim associate director at the Lusk Center for Real Estate from 2007-2009. He returned to USC after exiting the Obama administration. His research focused in the areas of home ownership, housing finance and neighborhood change.

Fed Up, a coalition of community groups and labor unions that has been pushing for more diversity among Fed policymakers, hailed the selection of Bostic.

“He is an exceptionally well-qualified economist and public servant who has dedicated his career to studying and combating racial, economic and social inequality,” Shawn Sebastian, co-director of the Fed Up coalition, said in a statement.

Although Bostic is the first African-American to head a Federal Reserve regional bank, three African-Americans — Andrew Brimmer, Emmett J.Rice, and Roger Ferguson —  have served on the Fed’s seven-member board in its 103-year history.

Bostic assumes his new role on June 5.

With reporting by the Associated Press