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Possible Biden picks for Treasury Secretary: a who's who

Brian Cheung
·Reporter
·4 min read

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.

Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard speaks at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., March 1, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard speaks at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., March 1, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

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.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen holds a news conference following the two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) policy meeting in Washington March 16, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen holds a news conference following the two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) policy meeting in Washington March 16, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

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)

Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., President & CEO TIAA-CREF, attends the Economic Club of New York Leadership Excellence Award in New York April 21, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., President & CEO TIAA-CREF, attends the Economic Club of New York Leadership Excellence Award in New York April 21, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

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.

FILE PHOTO --  Deputy Treasure Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin participates in an open meeting of the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans at the Treasury Department in Washington, October 2, 2014. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo
FILE PHOTO -- Deputy Treasure Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin participates in an open meeting of the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans at the Treasury Department in Washington, October 2, 2014. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

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)

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren talks to reporters outside her house about the end of her 2020 campaign for U.S. president after informing her staff that she is withdrawing from the U.S. presidential race in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., March 5, 2020. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren talks to reporters outside her house about the end of her 2020 campaign for U.S. president after informing her staff that she is withdrawing from the U.S. presidential race in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., March 5, 2020. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

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

President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Raphael W. Bostic speaks at a European Financial Forum event in Dublin, Ireland February 13, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Raphael W. Bostic speaks at a European Financial Forum event in Dublin, Ireland February 13, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

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)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 05: Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO & President, Ariel Investments speaks onstage during the 2020 Embrace Ambition Summit by the Tory Burch Foundation at Jazz at Lincoln Center on March 05, 2020 in New York City.  (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Tory Burch Foundation)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 05: Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO & President, Ariel Investments speaks onstage during the 2020 Embrace Ambition Summit by the Tory Burch Foundation at Jazz at Lincoln Center on March 05, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Tory Burch Foundation)

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.

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