THE White House has assembled a short list of candidates to succeed Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke.
Mr Bernanke is expected to leave when his second term as head of the central bank ends on January 31, after eight years helping the US economy recover from its worst recession since the Great Depression. US President Barack Obama hinted in a TV interview this month that Mr Bernanke would step down, comparing him to longtime FBI Director Robert Mueller, who agreed to stay two years longer in the job than he had planned, and is now to leave.
US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is running the search and has assembled a short list with help from several senior White House officials, sources added.
There was no information on who is on the list, although Fed vice-chair Janet Yellen, former Obama adviser Lawrence Summers and former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner are considered to be likely choices.
"We decline to comment on speculation on any personnel matters until the president is ready to announce them," said Amy Brundage, a White House spokeswoman.
"The president believes that Chairman Bernanke is a vital and excellent partner in promoting our economic recovery and he continues to serve admirably and with distinction during this important time for our country," she said.
Mr Bernanke has yet to say whether he would like to serve another four years at the helm of the central bank, but has done little to dampen speculation he is ready to leave.
The likely succession could come at a delicate juncture for US monetary policy.
Mr Bernanke said last week that the central bank expected to lighten up later this year on the amount of money it is pumping into the economy each month through a bond-buying programme.
He said the Fed would likely draw that programme to a full close around the middle of next year, when policymakers at the central bank expect the jobless rate will have fallen to around 7pc from its current 7.6pc.