As speculation grew that Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen would be nominated to lead the central bank, her appointment book beginning in April became peppered with meetings with the titans of finance.
Yellen’s calendars from February through July, obtained by Bloomberg News through a Freedom of Information Act request, show 30-minute meetings or phone calls with chief executive officers from some of the biggest banks. These included John Stumpf of Wells Fargo & Co. on April 3, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase & Co. on April 10, James Gorman of Morgan Stanley on April 15 and Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. on June 7.
Contacts with top finance industry executives aren’t unusual for Fed officials who, while setting monetary policy, are also responsible for supervising the largest financial institutions and managing the payments system. Yet in the six months prior to February, Yellen met in private with leaders of just two financial firms: Peter Fisher of BlackRock Inc. and Michael Corbat of Citigroup Inc., according to her calendars.
Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, whose term expires Jan. 31, met with American Express Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Chenault on April 15 and Blankfein on June 7, according to his calendars from February to July, released through a Freedom of Information Act request. President Barack Obama nominated Yellen to lead the Fed on Oct. 9.
Yellen, 67, also met with top economists and academics, including hour-long meetings with Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman Sachs, on March 5, and Larry Meyer, a former Fed governor who is senior managing director of Macroeconomic Advisers in Washington, on March 8.
Yellen met for an hour on May 20 with Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. labor federation, and held an hour-long meeting with the American Bankers Association’s advisory economic committee on June 7.
A Bloomberg poll of investors in May said Yellen was the most probable candidate to succeed Bernanke. The second-most likely choice was Bernanke himself, according to the quarterly poll of investors, analysts and traders who are Bloomberg subscribers -- even though the Fed chairman had said he felt no personal responsibility to remain for another term.
Lawrence Summers, a former adviser to Obama, withdrew his candidacy to lead the Fed in September, saying his nomination would lead to an “acrimonious” confirmation process that wouldn’t be in the interests of the economy or the government.