Obama moves to fill Fed board, taps Fischer to be No. 2

Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:07pm EST
 
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By Mark Felsenthal and Ann Saphir

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Friday nominated former Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer to be vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, and tapped two others to round out the U.S. central bank's top ranks just as it begins winding down its historic economic stimulus.

Fischer, an experienced crisis manager and one of the world's most prominent economists, would succeed Janet Yellen, who is set to take the Fed's helm when Chairman Ben Bernanke's term expires at the end of this month.

Obama also nominated Lael Brainard, who recently was the U.S. Treasury's top official for international affairs, to serve on the Fed board, and renominated Fed Governor Jerome Powell, whose current term ends on January 31.

All three need to be confirmed by the Senate.

The two new voices at the Fed's table are unlikely to alter the policy consensus as the central bank scales backs it aggressive bond-buying campaign, analysts said.

While Brainard, a veteran of Democratic administrations, is seen as inclined to be particularly focused on fostering faster jobs growth, Fischer, whose post as second-in-command will make him more influential, is seen as a centrist.

But Fischer, 70, is also known for a willingness to do what he thinks best, regardless of economic rules or market expectations. As head of Israel's central bank, he often surprised investors with his interest rate decisions.

"Like Janet Yellen and many others, he is of unquestioned brilliance at knowing when and when not to pay attention to academic concerns or models," said Adam Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.   Continued...

 
A combination of file photos of (L-R) Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer pausing during a news conference in Jerusalem in January 30, 2013, U.S. Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs Lael Brainard delivering a speech in Moscow in February 15, 2013, and Federal Reserve Board of Governors member Jerome Powell listening during an open board meeting at the Federal Reserve in Washington in December 14, 2012. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/Sergei Karpukhin/Kevin Lamarque/Files