A US official has said that Barack Obama will officially nominate Federal Reserve Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen to replace Ben Bernanke at the head of the US central bank. Yellen would be the first woman to fill the role.
US President Barack Obama was due to formally nominate Janet Yellen as the first chairwoman of the Federal Reserve on Wednesday afternoon, but a White House official confirmed the nominee's identity ahead of time.
Yellen was considered a major frontrunner ever since another potential candidate, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, ruled himself out of the race over policy differences with some Democrat Senators.
Current Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's second four-year term in the role expires on January 31, 2014.
The 67-year-old Yellen, Bernanke's deputy at the Fed for the past three years, is a respected former economics professor. She also boasts prior experience at the US' central bank, and elsewhere in Washington. Her nomination is expected to comfortably win the required approval from the upper house of Congress, the Senate, which is led by Obama's Democrats.
"She's an excellent choice and I believe she'll be confirmed by a wide margin," Democrat Senator Charles Schumer of New York said.
Earlier this year, 20 Senate Democrats (out of 54 in total) took the unusual step of sending a signed letter to Obama urging him to turn to the Yale graduate and former Berkeley professor.
Among Fed officials, Yellen is widely referred to as a "dove" (as opposed to a "hawk"), this is shorthand to suggest that her monetary policies are comparatively liberal, favoring stimulus measures and low interest rates more than policies designed to stave off inflation or control currency circulation.
Yellen will need 60 Senate votes out of 100 for her nomination to be confirmed, with 54 Democrats in the upper chamber. The lower house of Congress - the Republican-led House of Representatives - is not required to approve her appointment.
msh/ccp (AFP, Reuters)