Former US Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers called US president Barack Obama today to say he was pulling out of the closely-watched contest to become top dog at the Federal Reserve, succeeding Ben Bernanke. His withdrawal comes after several key Democrats on the Senate banking committee vowed to oppose his nomination, partly because of his role in deregulating financial markets.
Fed vice chair Janet Yellen, who boasts an impressive career but less star power than Summers, is now a frontrunner. Other contenders include former Fed vice chair Donald Kohn, former Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner, and Stanley Fischer, an American economist and recent governor of the Bank of Israel. Below is the letter Summers sent to Obama to confirm his withdrawal from consideration, care of the Wall Street Journal:
Dear Mr. President,
I am writing to withdraw my name for consideration to be Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
It has been a privilege to work with you since the beginning of your Administration as you led the nation through a severe recession into a sustained economic recovery built on policies to promote employment and strengthen the middle class.
This is a complex moment in our national life. I have reluctantly concluded that any possible confirmation process for me would be acrimonious and would not serve the interests of the Federal Reserve, the Administration, or ultimately, the interests of the nation’s ongoing economic recovery.
I look forward to continuing to support your efforts to strengthen our national economy by creating a broad based prosperity and to reform our financial system so that no President ever again faces what and your economic team faced upon taking office in 2009.