The nation’s next Treasury Secretary under President-elect Joe Biden faces a historic challenge: pulling the world’s largest economy out of the deepest recession since the Great Depression.
Rumors have already been swirling over who Biden will slot in the Treasury role. The shortlist so far has revealed a theme for the transition team’s preferences: previous or current public servants with experience in navigating Washington, D.C.
Prior to the election, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard generated buzz as a possible front runner for the position.
As a central banker, Brainard’s monetary policy experience at the Fed would make for a unique perspective as a shot-caller on the fiscal side of economic policy. And Brainard is familiar with the Treasury and how to negotiate in international affairs, having attended several G-20 and G-7 meetings during her time as an Under Secretary during the Obama-era Treasury.
When the Election Day results appeared to point toward a Biden win but a GOP hold on the Senate, Wall Street analysts like ING’s James Knightley wrote that the outcome would support a moderate candidate like Brainard.
“The likely nomination of [Brainard] for Treasury Secretary would ease market concerns of a more radical, progressive agenda with regards to economic policy,” Knightley wrote on November 6.
But in recent days, another Fed official, former Fed Chair Janet Yellen, has reportedly emerged as a new top candidate for the job. Yellen led the central bank from 2014 to 2018,
Other names have been floated as well, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic.
Here’s a who’s who of some rumored candidates for the next Treasury Secretary.
Who: Lael Brainard
Current job: Federal Reserve Governor (since 2014)
Career highlights: Under Secretary of the U.S. Treasury (2010 to 2013), economic adviser to President Bill Clinton, professor of applied economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, consultant at McKinsey & Co.
Who: Janet Yellen
Current job: Fellow at Brookings Institution
Career highlights: Federal Reserve Chair (2014 to 2018), Federal Reserve Vice Chair (2010 to 2014), Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President (2004-2010), Chair of White House Council of Economic Advisors (1997 to 1999)
Who: Roger Ferguson
Current job: President and CEO of TIAA-CREF (since 2008)
Career highlights: Federal Reserve Vice Chair (1999 to 2006), head of financial services for Swiss Re, partner at McKinsey & Co.
Who: Sarah Bloom Raskin
Current job: Visiting professor at Duke Law (since 2018)
Career Highlights: Deputy Treasury Secretary (2014 to 2017), Fed Governor (2010 to 2014), Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation (2007 to 2010)
Who: Elizabeth Warren
Current job: Democratic Senator for Massachusetts (since 2013)
Career Highlights: 2020 presidential candidate, chair of Congressional Oversight Panel for Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), founder of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Harvard Law professor
Who: Raphael Bostic
Current job: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President (since 2017)
Career highlights: University of Southern California professor (2012 to 2017), assistant secretary at U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (2009 to 2012), Federal Reserve economist (1995 to 2001)
Who: Mellody Hobson
Current job: Co-CEO of Ariel Investments since 2019, Ariel president since 1991
Career highlights: Starbucks director (2005 to present), Estée Lauder Companies Inc. director (2005 to 2018), DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. director (2004 to 2016)
Brian Cheung is a reporter covering the Fed, economics, and banking for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter @bcheungz.