President Obama will nominate Federal Reserve vice chair Janet Yellen to succeed Ben Bernanke as chairman of the US central bank, the White House said today. Yellen would be the first woman to head the powerful Fed, taking over at a pivotal time for the economy and the banking industry. Both Yellen and Bernanke are scheduled to appear with Obama at the White House tomorrow for a formal announcement. Bernanke will serve until his term ends Jan. 31, completing a remarkable eight-year tenure in which he helped pull the US economy out of the worst financial crisis and recession since the 1930's.
Yellen, 67, emerged as the leading candidate after Lawrence Summers, a former Treasury secretary whom Obama was thought to favor, withdrew from consideration last month in the face of rising opposition. A close ally of the chairman, she has been a key architect of the Fed's efforts under Bernanke to keep interest rates near record lows to support the economy, and she would likely continue steering Fed policy in the same direction as Bernanke.