Before joining Harvard in 2006, Kaplan was a vice chairman at Goldman Sachs, responsible for the firm's investment banking and investment management units.
"He has had distinguished careers in business and academia, and has the right combination of leadership skills, business experience and public-service mindset. Rob is committed to improving the economy for all Americans," Dallas Fed board chairwoman Renu Khator said in a statement.
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Kaplan will step down from board posts at State Street, Harvard Management Company and executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles, among other positions. He will continue as co-chairman of the nonprofit Project ALS and the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, as well as remain on the board of Harvard Medical School.
"I look forward to working with the superb professionals of this bank and throughout the Federal Reserve system in their vital service to the district and the country," Kaplan said in a statement.
The U.S. central bank's Dallas branch will not be a voting member on its policy committee again until 2017.