The White House announced Friday that the president would nominate Stanley Fischer to serve as the vice chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Fischer would take over as vice chair for Janet Yellen, whom the Senate this week confirmed to be the next chair. Yellen will take over as chair for Ben Bernanke, who is leaving at the end of January, the end of his second term as chairman.
Like Yellen, Fischer would come to the Federal Reserve with years of central banking experience already under his belt. Fischer was governor of the Bank of Israel from 2005 through June of this year, and previously served as vice chairman of Citigroup and deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund. Fischer also taught at MIT, where Bernanke was one of his students, the Washington Post reports.
Fischer and the new chair would head the central bank at a time when it's trying to unwind a massive balance sheet that has ballooned to more than $4 trillion under three rounds of massive asset purchases known as quantitative easing. Like Yellen, Fischer has credited the Fed's stimulus with boosting the economy.
"Without the Fed, we'd have had a much deeper recession," he said in a November panel discussion in Washington, D.C., as reported by the Wall Street Journal. "Without the extraordinary things that it's done, the economy would be in much worse shape today and we need to remember that."
At the same event, Fischer characterized easing as "necessary" but "dangerous."
However, if confirmed, he also might clash with Yellen regarding the Fed's new communication policies. Under Bernanke, the central bank started giving forward guidance – statements about future policy expectations, such as how long it expects to hold interest rates near zero. Yellen has expressed support for the bank's newly open communication style, but in an appearance last year, Fischer criticized this type of guidance.
"You can't expect the Fed to spell out what it's going to do," he said at a 2013 conference, as reported by the Journal. "If you give too much forward guidance you do take away flexibility."
Obama also nominated to the board of governors Jerome Powell and Lael Brainard. Powell has been on the board since 2012, but his term expires at the end of January. Brainard served as the Treasury's under secretary for international affairs from 2010 to 2013.
The president characterized his nominees as well qualified to steer monetary policy at a time of economic uncertainty.
"These three distinguished individuals have the proven experience, judgment and deep knowledge of the financial system to serve at the Federal Reserve during this important time for our economy," Obama said in a statement.