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Yellen Sworn in as Fed Chairman as Bernanke Joins Brookings

Fed Chairman Janet Yellen
Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen's term will last through Feb. 3, 2018. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Janet Yellen was sworn in today as the chairman of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors in Washington, while her predecessor, Ben S. Bernanke, joined the Brookings Institution as a distinguished fellow in residence.

The announcements completed a leadership transition, with Yellen becoming top policy maker as the Fed tries to wean financial markets off a bond purchase program that has pushed up central bank assets to $4.1 trillion. She is scheduled next week to report on monetary policy in semi-annual testimony before the House and Senate.

Yellen’s oath of office was administered in the Fed’s board room by Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo, the central bank said in a statement today in Washington. Her term will last through Feb. 3, 2018. She didn’t make a public statement at the ceremony.

Yellen will testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Feb. 11, and before the Senate Banking Committee on Feb. 13.

As Yellen began her tenure, U.S. stocks fell, sending benchmark indexes to their biggest declines since June, after a gauge of manufacturing in the world’s largest economy retreated more than estimated. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 2.3 percent to 1,741.89 at 4:07 p.m. in New York, the lowest since Oct. 17. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 326.05 points, or 2.1 percent, to 15,372.80. The gauge has fallen 7.3 percent this year to a three-month low.

Former Chairman

Bernanke, whose term at the Fed expired on Jan. 31, will be a distinguished fellow in residence at Brookings, the organization said in a statement. His former Fed colleague Don Kohn, who was vice chairman of the central bank under Bernanke, is a senior fellow at Brookings, as is former Fed vice chairman Alice Rivlin.

“We are proud to welcome Chairman Bernanke into the Brookings family,” said Brookings President Strobe Talbott. “His firm, steady hand at the Fed’s tiller came at a crucial time in our nation’s history, including during the worst financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression. We know he’ll bring insights from his tenure at the Fed to his work at Brookings.”

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