Janet Yellen

2 minute read
Rana Foroohar

The second most powerful job in the U.S. will likely soon be held, for the first time, by a woman. On Oct. 9, President Obama nominated Federal Reserve vice chair Janet Yellen to head the central bank, a promotion that would make her the most important figure in the global economy.

Yellen, who is arguably the most experienced nominee ever, should have no problem getting through the Senate confirmation process. A Ph.D. in economics, she began her career with groundbreaking research about things like how lower wages can lead to higher unemployment. She taught at the University of California, Berkeley, ran the Council of Economic Advisers and steered the Fed’s San Francisco bank successfully through the subprime crisis, about which she raised concerns as early as 2005. “She’s an economist of great intellect, with a strong ability to forge consensus,” says Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz.

She’ll need both qualities over the next couple of years as she navigates the Fed’s tricky exit from its massive program of asset buying. No doubt she’ll be spending time on the phone with the second most important person in the global economy, who also happens to be a woman: managing director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde.

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