Trump Says Jerome Powell Is His Choice to Lead Federal Reserve -- 2nd Update

By Peter Nicholas Features Dow Jones Newswires

President Donald Trump formally announced Thursday that he would nominate Federal Reserve governor Jerome Powell to be the next chairman of the central bank, saying he has the "wisdom and leadership" to guide the economy through any turbulence that arises.

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Mr. Trump introduced Mr. Powell in a brief ceremony in the Rose Garden outside the White House.

"If I am confirmed by the Senate, I will do everything in my power to achieve our congressionally assigned goals of stable prices and maximum employment," Mr. Powell said.

If he wins Senate confirmation, Mr. Powell will succeed the incumbent Fed chairwoman, Janet Yellen.

Ms. Yellen was one of five finalists for the job, and Mr. Trump notified her earlier Thursday that she wouldn't be reappointed, a White House aide said.

Ms. Yellen was first nominated in 2013 by former President Barack Obama, a Democrat. Her four-year term as chairwoman expires in early February.

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In five years at the Fed, Mr. Powell has been a Yellen ally and he is expected to continue the Fed's approach of reversing the central bank's stimulus policies as the economy expands.

Mr. Trump's pick is the first time in nearly 40 years that a new president hasn't asked the incumbent Fed leader to stay on for another term.

His announcement caps a search that lasted months. White House officials aid Ms. Yellen was in the running right up until the end.

As late as Friday, Mr. Trump was asking questions about different candidates, suggesting he was still open to someone other than Mr. Powell, White House officials said.

In the end, Mr. Trump liked Mr. Powell's combination of monetary policy acumen and business savvy, White House officials said. The president called Mr. Powell on Tuesday to notify him of the nomination, a White House aide said.

Mr. Powell, a lawyer, worked as an investment banker in New York, as Treasury undersecretary for financial institutions in the George H.W. Bush administration, as a partner at the Carlyle Group and as a scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Mr. Trump cited Mr. Powell's private-sector experience during the ceremony. Mr. Powell, he said, will bring "real-world perspective to our government. As a result, he understands what it takes for our economy to grow."

During the search, Mr. Trump was "looking for someone who understands how the real world works and how to manage big, unwieldy organizations, and so he found in Powell someone who checked every box he was looking for," a White House official said.

In his interviews with the candidates, Mr. Trump didn't discuss how they might set interest rates, a White House official said.

"The president respects the independence of the Fed," the official said. "He's focused very much on judging and understanding how each of the candidates thinks about monetary policy, but they didn't get into any particular views on rates."

After the president's announcement, Ms. Yellen released a statement saying, "Jay's long and distinguished career has been marked by dedicated public service and seriousness of purpose. I am confident in his deep commitment to carrying out the vital public mission of the Federal Reserve. I am committed to working with him to ensure a smooth transition."

Write to Peter Nicholas at peter.nicholas@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 02, 2017 16:18 ET (20:18 GMT)