What To Call The Most Powerful Central Banker In The World | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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What To Call The Most Powerful Central Banker In The World

Janet Yellen got the official nod from President Obama Wednesday afternoon for the Fed's top spot. If Yellen's nomination is confirmed by the Senate, she'll be the first woman to head the Federal Reserve System and the most powerful central banker in the world.

But since she would be the first woman to get the job, just what exactly would her title be? Chair? Chairman? Chairwoman?

Yellen would replace Ben Bernanke, whose official salutation is chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

She's currently second in command as the vice chair, a position she took back in 2010. Only one other woman has had that role, and that was Alice Rivlin, from 1996 to 1999.

Yellen's current position is traditionally referred to as vice chairman. But according to a Fed representative, that title was altered to just vice chair for both Rivlin and Yellen.

So, on this historic occasion, it seems fair to guess that the title for the most powerful banker in the world would change as well. Right?

It's not entirely clear.

The Senate Banking Committee will be the first to take up Yellen's nomination. The chairman of that committee, South Dakota Democrat Tim Johnson, released a statement Wednesday in support of the expected nomination.

Here's how it reads: "I commend President Obama on his selection of Dr. Yellen to be the first woman to serve as Federal Reserve Chairman."

Now let's take a look at the White House email that started all the chatter about the pending nomination. The language in the email reads: "Later in the afternoon, the President will announce his intent to nominate Dr. Janet Yellen as Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System."

Notice the difference?

Well, maybe we can offer some clarification: According to a Fed representative, Yellen's new title would be chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

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