Jerome Powell rose to top of Trump’s list as safe, savvy choice for Fed

Jerome Powell

Jerome Powell was not on President Donald Trump‘s early radar as a possible successor to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, and was angling instead for a job as the U.S. central bank’s vice chair for supervision.

But when he was passed over for that position last summer, it was one in a chain of events that set the stage for the 64-year-old Fed governor and former investment banker to take over as head of the world’s most powerful central bank.

Trump on Thursday nominated Powell to replace Yellen when her term expires in early February, saying at the White House that the 64-year-old lawyer and former investment banker has the necessary “wisdom and leadership.”

Other contenders for the job fell for different reasons, as Trump soured on top White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, decided against renominating Yellen despite largely approving of her policies and came to view two others as posing risks to the economy, according to current and former Fed and government officials familiar with the decision.

In the end it was Powell, a Maryland native, avid cyclist, and guitar hobbyist, who checked all the boxes that mattered but carried none of the negatives.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Powell would become the first person without an advanced economics degree to hold the job since William Miller in the late 1970s.

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