Bernanke Nominated As Next Fed Chairman

Ben Bernanke, 51, was nominated on Oct. 24 by President George W. Bush to head the Federal Reserve on the departure of the 79-year-old Greenspan on January 31. Bernanke, a respected economist who has served three years on the Federal Reserve, is expected to shift some policies as he attempts to fill the shoes of legendary central bank chief Alan Greenspan, say analysts.

Bernanke left the Fed in June to become chairman of the White House council of economic advisers. At the Fed, Bernanke tackled some of the toughest questions facing monetary policy, including the threat of deflation. He has been the chief proponent of the Fed adopting an explicit inflation target, as other central banks do.

Economist Robert Brusca at FAO Economics said it would take time for Bernanke to earn the respect of the financial markets. "Bernanke is not a strong markets person. Neither was Greenspan when he took over at the Fed," Brusca said. "So, on this score he will have to earn his respect. Bernanke is smart and one of the best-trained and most able economists to hold the top spot at the Fed. But he is replacing Greenspan, who may be the smoothest Fed operator ever."

Bernanke worked at Princeton University for 17 years, including as head of the economics department, before joining the Federal Reserve Board in 2002. Bernanke was born on December 13, 1953, in Augusta, Georgia. He received a bachelor's degree in economics in 1975 from Harvard University, graduating summa cum laude. He received a Ph.D in economics in 1979 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005

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