Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen said Monday she will leave the central bank once her term as chair ends in February, wrapping up a pivotal tenure in which the Fed began to reverse its extraordinary, decadelong support for the economy.
Yellen’s departure from the Fed long before her term as a governor ends in 2024 gives President Donald Trump another big opportunity to shape the world’s most important central bank.
Her announcement comes almost three weeks after Trump nominated Fed Governor Jerome Powell as the next U.S. central bank head, replacing Yellen with a similarly minded but Republican chairman.
Yellen’s move — capping off her nearly three decades at the agency — means the Fed will have a fourth vacancy to fill. Trump has already installed a vice chair of supervision, Randal Quarles, on the Fed board and will have the opportunity to name his own vice chair and three more governors.
Other than Powell, the only remaining appointee of former President Barack Obama is Fed Governor Lael Brainard, once considered a front-runner to serve as Treasury secretary under a Hillary Clinton administration.
“I am enormously proud to have worked alongside many dedicated and highly able women and men, particularly my predecessor as Chair, Ben S. Bernanke, whose leadership during the financial crisis and its aftermath was critical to restoring the soundness of our financial system and the prosperity of our economy,” Yellen said in her resignation letter.
She cited evidence that the economy is much stronger than a decade ago, including 17 million net jobs produced in the past eight years.