Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will most likely step down in January 2014 and not seek a third term even if President Barack Obama is re-elected. Republican nominee Mitt Romney has vowed to replace Bernanke if elected.
Bernanke apparently told friends that he was considering not standing for a third term, according to a report in the New York Times. His current second term ends in Jan. 2014 – he was first appointed by President George W. Bush in 2006 and re-appointed by President Obama in 2010.
The report cites former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers high on the list to replace Bernanke if the president is re-elected. Other candidates include Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who has said he is leaving by the end of the year; Janet Yellen, vice chairwoman at the Fed; and Alan Krueger, a former assistant secretary of the Treasury for economic policy.
If the former Massachusetts Governor gets elected on Nov. 6, his most likely choice to replace Bernanke is Glenn Hubbard, who headed President George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers.
During a news conference in September, the Federal Reserve Chairman did not indicate that he was submitting his resignation any time soon, but rather he noted that he was quite focused on his central banking affairs.
“I am very focused on my work, I don’t have any decision or any information to give you on my personal plans,” said Bernanke, reports Russia Today.
When Jan. 2014 comes along and if he does step down, Bernanke leaves behind quite a legacy.
Bloomberg News reported in November that the Fed gave out $7.7 trillion in bailouts throughout the United States financial system. Also, more than $3 trillion went to foreign banks in Asia and Europe. A partial Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit showed that the Fed handed out a total of approximately $16 trillion.
Last month, the Federal Reserve announced even further Quantitative Easing (QE3) by purchasing $40 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities each month. QE3 will co-exist alongside Operation Twist, a one-year-old initiative to purchase $400 billion of bonds with maturities of six to 30 years.