Brainard heads to White House to advise on economics; Fed Board will need new vice chair

The Federal Reserve is on the lookout for a new board vice chair following the announcement Tuesday that the incumbent will move over to the White House to lead the president’s National Economic Council, according to releases late Tuesday from the Fed and the executive mansion.

Lael Brainard, who has only served since May as vice chair (and had previously served on the Fed Board since 2014), was named director of the White House National Economic Council (NEC) Tuesday. Earlier in the afternoon, she announced her resignation as Fed Board vice chair. She said her resignation was effective on or around Feb. 20.

In a statement, Fed Board Chair Jerome H. Powell lauded Brainard’s “formidable talent and superb results” while serving on the agency board. He specifically cited her efforts in monetary policy and economic research, financial stability and the payments system, strengthening the financial system domestically and globally, and managing the immense operational agency challenges during the pandemic. “My colleagues and I will truly miss her,” Powell said.

A veteran of previous service at the Treasury Department (as under secretary and counselor to the Treasury secretary), Brainard also previously served as deputy national economic adviser and deputy assistant to the president and G-7 sherpa.

Brainard’s resignation means the Fed Board will be, as has been the case more often than not over the last five years, without a full complement of members. When Michael Barr was sworn in last summer, all seven seats on the board were filled for the first time in years. The White House has made no mention, yet, of a successor to Brainard’s seat and position.

Lael Brainard submits resignation as Vice Chair and a member of the Federal Reserve Board, effective on or around February 20, 2023

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