Summers withdraws from Fed chair contest

Updated: 2013-09-16 08:08


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Summers withdraws from Fed chair contest

Former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers speaks during a financial and economic event at the London School of Economics (LSE) in London in this file photo from March 25, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON -- Former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers on Sunday withdrew his name from consideration for the Federal Reserve chairmanship, currently held by Ben Bernanke.

"Earlier today, I spoke with Larry Summers and accepted his decision to withdraw his name from consideration for Chairman of the Federal Reserve," US President Barack Obama said in a statement released Sunday afternoon.

"Larry was a critical member of my team as we faced down the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and it was in no small part because of his expertise, wisdom, and leadership that we wrestled the economy back to growth and made the kind of progress we are seeing today," Obama said.

"I will always be grateful to Larry for his tireless work and service on behalf of his country, and I look forward to continuing to seek his guidance and counsel in the future," he noted.

Summers is a leading contender to succeed Bernanke as the Fed chief. He is a member of Obama's original economic team formed after Obama took the helm at the White House in 2009 and was instrumental in Obama's key economic policymaking.

Summers dropped out of the race due to opposition from some Democratic senators. The Fed chief nominee should win confirmation from the Senate.

Obama said last month that he would announce his pick for the Fed chair this fall. The Fed chief is possibly the most powerful economic figure in the country and choosing the Fed chair will be one of the most important decisions for Obama to make in his second term.

Obama said he has a range of "highly-qualified" candidates under consideration to replace outgoing Bernanke whose terms ends on January 31 next year. They include Summers and Janet Yellen, currently the central bank's vice chairwoman, and former Fed vice chairman Donald Kohn.