Larry Summers withdrew his bid for Federal Reserve Chairman in a surprising move that raises questions about who will lead the central bank in a few months.
Current Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will step down in four months and, until Sunday, Summers was expected to take his place.
However, The Washington Post reports that Summers withdrew following an uproar among liberal Democrats, women’s groups, and other advocacy groups who were against his potential nomination for the job.
President Barack Obama already said he will consider two other candidates for the post, Fed Vice Chairman Janet L. Yellen and former Fed vice chairman Don Kohn. However, Obama was leaning toward Summers, the former Treasury secretary and senior White House economic adviser.
Since Larry Summers withdrew his name on Sunday, USA Today notes that Yellen emerged as the favorite to win the nomination. In a statement about Summers decision on Sunday, Obama praised the former Treasury secretary for his advice on the economy.
Obama added that he would “seek his guidance and counsel in the future.” Summers was instrumental in the Obama administration’s response to the economic and financial crisis during the president’s first term.
Summers announced his withdrawal in a letter to President Obama. He cited the political obstacles in his path to Senate confirmation if he was nominated. Summers added that he believed his nomination “would not serve the interests of the Federal Reserve, the Administration, or ultimately, the interests of the nation’s ongoing economic recovery.”
The former Treasury secretary faced opposition from the president’s own party because of his role in financial deregulation, as well as his leadership style, which some found abrasive. He also speculated in 2005 that innate differences in men and women could be a reason why women lag behind in some science and math fields. The comment sparked international controversy.
Larry Summers’ decision to withdraw from consideration for Fed chair marks a disappointing turn of events in his career. While he once worked at the highest levels of government and education, his career has been hindered by controversy.