The Obama administration is putting together its list of candidates to succeed U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who is not expected to seek reappointment as the captain of the world’s most important reserve bank.
Right now, any speculation as to who is emerging as the most likely nominee is just that. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that while Treasury Secretary Jack Lew pulls together the list, no front-runner has yet emerged to top it.
Bernanke isn’t out of the picture, yet, and President Barack Obama could persuade him to stick around for another four-year term. Nominations will likely not take place until the fall.
It’s a tricky situation. Bernanke has been at the helm of an unprecedented asset-buying spree, pumping billions of dollars into the economy and keeping interest rates low. The next U.S. Fed chief will have to inevitably start unwinding this policy, which will likely cause volatility in the marketplace that could send the U.S. back into recession. Mere speculation that the US Fed could later this year start this process has already caused major selloffs in bonds.
So far the following officials, besides Bernanke himself, have been cited as potential candidates for the next Fed chair:
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- Former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner;
- Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen;
- Lawrence Summers, former head of Obama’s National Economic Council and former head of the Treasury under President Bill Clinton;
- Roger Ferguson, former Fed vice chair and head of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA–CREF); and
- Alan Blinder, former Fed vice chair and Princeton professor.