Incoming U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen
Washington (Feb 1) Term: Appointed to a four-year term as chair beginning February 1, 2014; Yellen will be sworn into office on February 3, but has authority as vice chair to exercise all duties of the chair until then.
- Yellen is often seen as a monetary policy dove because of her long-held view that the Fed should tolerate slightly higher inflation if that is the cost of fighting high unemployment. But during 12 years of monetary policymaking, she has never dissented on any Fed decision, including interest rate hikes.
- As Fed vice chair, Yellen was an outspoken proponent of the Fed's aggressive stimulus efforts during and after the 2007-09 crisis, and played a lead role in refining the central bank's communications strategy. She spearheaded the Fed's adoption of a 2-percent inflation target. She believes public understanding of the Fed's policies is crucial to their effectiveness.
- Before her stint as vice chair, which began in October 2010, Yellen ran the San Francisco Fed for six years. Previously, she had been a member of the Fed Board of Governors from August 1994 to February 1997 before she left the central bank to head President Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers through August 1999. She has also taught economics at the University of California, Berkeley, where she has been on the faculty since 1980.
- She is the first woman to chair the Fed in its 100-year history, and among just a handful of top female central bankers globally.
- The daughter of a Brooklyn doctor who saw patients in the family home, Yellen earned a doctorate in economics from Yale University and went on to teach at Harvard and the London School of Economics before landing at UC Berkeley. She is married to Nobel-laureate economics professor George Akerlof, and they have one son, also an economist.
- Yellen has written scores of research papers, many of them with Akerlof, on topics ranging from single motherhood and youth gangs to sticky wages and monopoly pricing.