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Obama nominates Janet Yellen as next Fed chair

AFP

US President Barack Obama on Wednesday nominated economist Janet Yellen to replace outgoing Chairman Ben Bernanke as the next head of the Federal Reserve Board, making her the first woman ever to lead the world's most powerful central bank.

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President Barack Obama nominated Janet Yellen to be the next chair of the Federal
Reserve Board on Wednesday and said she is a proven leader who knows how to build consensus in managing the Fed's dual mandate of controlling inflation and increasing employment.

At a White House event, Obama also hailed current chair Ben Bernanke, whose term on the board ends in January. Obama urged the Senate to confirm Yellen as soon as possible.

Yellen, 67, will be the first woman ever to lead the Fed and is widely expected to maintain Bernanke's focus on supporting the US economy until joblessness can be brought down.

"America's workers and families will have a champion in Janet," Obama said in a White House ceremony, flanked by Yellen and Bernanke.

He called Yellen "exceptionally qualified" for what he said was one of the most important jobs in the world.

"She is a proven leader, and she's tough. Not just because she is from Brooklyn," Obama said.

He cited her record of having "sounded the alarm early" about the housing and financial bubble that led to the 2008-2009 recession.

"She calls it like she sees it," Obama said.

Obama paid tribute to Bernanke, calling him a voice of wisdom during a time of market volatility who helped repair the US economy from the worst recession since the Great Depression.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

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