Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said she will step down from its Board of Governors once her successor is sworn into the office, widening the scope for President Donald Trump to shape the U.S. central bank’s leadership for years to come.
Trump has nominated Jerome Powell to replace Yellen, 71, when her term ends in February, though his chairmanship is still subject to Senate confirmation. That move bucked a long-standing tradition of presidents reappointing their predecessor’s Fed pick.
“As I prepare to leave the Board, I am gratified that the financial system is much stronger than a decade ago, better able to withstand future bouts of instability and continue supporting the economic aspirations of American families and businesses,” Yellen, the first woman to lead the U.S. central bank, wrote Monday in her letter of resignation to Trump.
Her decision to leave will give Trump an additional fourth spot to fill on the Fed’s seven-person Board of Governors in Washington, including for a vice chairman. The White House has said that Trump was focused on making a selection for that position this year.
Yellen has presided over almost four straight years of steady economic growth, sluggish inflation and a jobless rate that has fallen even as she directed the gradual exit from crisis-era policies. On her watch, the Fed halted a controversial bond-buying campaign, lifted interest rates off zero, and began to unwind its $4.5 trillion balance sheet.