US Senate approves Janet Yellen as new Fed leader

06 January 2014 23:34  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US Senate on Monday confirmed Janet Yellen as the new head of the Federal Reserve Board, making her the first woman to lead the 100-year-old US central bank.

The Senate voted 56 to 26 in approving Yellen for the top job at the Fed

The approval required only a simple majority vote. The other 18 members of the Senate were either not present or did not vote on the matter.

Yellen, who has served as vice chair of the Fed since October 2010, will succeed current board chairman Ben Bernanke when he retires on 31 January after serving eight years in the key financial role.

Before being named vice chair of the Fed, the 67-year-old Yellen served as president and chief executive of the 12th district Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco, California.

While serving in the Federal Reserve system, Yellen also has held a position as professor emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley, where she has taught business and economics since 1980.

She also has served as chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers and earlier held a faculty position at the London School of Economics.

During her three-year tenure as vice chair of the Fed, Yellen has been broadly supportive of the economic stimulus policies espoused and implemented by Bernanke.

She also supported the Fed’s recent move to begin a gradual reduction in bond-buying policies and other stimulus measures as the US economic recovery continued to gain momentum.

Bernanke began the moderate rollback in mid-December, so the onus of initiating a reduction in stimulus measures is Bernanke’s, not Yellen’s. Some economists have criticised the dial-down as being too early, arguing that the nation's recovery still needs the Fed's full stimulus measures.

Having supported both the multi-year financial stimulus programme and initiation of the rollback last month, Yellen is not expected to make any major departures in Fed policies in the immediate future.

Yellen’s economic philosophy has so closely paralleled that of Bernanke that much of the news coverage surrounding her appointment has centred on the fact that she will be the first woman to head the Fed.

Yellen likely will be sworn into office by President Barack Obama on or just before the day of Bernanke’s retirement.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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