Barack Obama has named New York Federal Reserve President Timothy
Geithner as his pick to serve as Treasury Secretary in his incoming
administration -- a key decision as the United States faces one
of the worst economic crisis in decades.
47, became head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 2003,
and has pushed for aggressive government intervention as economic
disasters loomed, according to the Wall Street Journal.
"The choice is between which mistake is easier to correct:
underdoing it or overdoing it," Geithner told the Wall Street
Journal earlier this year.
If confirmed as Treasury Secretary, Geithner will be charged
with righting a U.S. financial system battered by soured mortgage-linked
investments and weak economic data indicators, such as jobless
rates and consumer spending.
At the helm of the New York Fed, he worked closely with Federal
Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to help the central bank tackle
the financial crisis and ease the credit crunch. Geithner also
worked with current Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson as the government
formulated a plan to tackle the credit crisis.
As New York Fed chair, Geithner has been a player in discussions
with several troubled financial institutions, including Lehman
Brothers and AIG. He also coordinated the sale of Bear Stearns
to J.P. Morgan Chase in March.
David Alexrod, a senior adviser to Mr. Obama, pointed to Geithner's
previous work in the Treasury Department, where he served in the
90s during the Asian financial crisis.
"Tim Geithner is uniquely qualified to do this job. He's
someone who is steeped in the economy and in managing crises.
He's someone who, by both temperament and experience, is well-suited
for the times we're in," Axelrod said on ABC's "This
After reports leaked on Friday about the appointment, Wall Street
rallied in response, with the Dow Jones industrial average jumping
500 points after the news.
The New York Federal Reserve is one of 12 district banks and
plays a key role as the liaison between the central bank and securities
firms and works with bond dealers to keep the main interest rate
close to the target set by policy makers, according to Bloomberg.
Its president serves as vice president of the Federal Open Market
Committee, the body that determines interest rates, and is the
only district bank that holds a permanent vote on interest rates.
Before assuming the leadership of the New York Fed, Geithner
was a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the
Director of the Policy Development and Review Department of the
International Monetary Fund.
Geithner served in the Treasury Department for 13 years, working
his way up to become Under-Secretary for International Affairs,
a position he held from 1998 to 2001. There, he played a major
role in negotiating aid packages for South Korea and Brazil and
in crafting the U.S. response to the Asian currency crisis of
1997 to 1998.
Geithner spent much of his childhood abroad in India, Thailand
and Zimbabwe. He studied government and Asian studies at Dartmouth
College and earned his masters at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced
International Studies in international economics and East Asian
studies in 1985.
He began his career at Kissinger Associates Inc., a consulting
firm founded by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, where
he worked until 1988 when he became the assistant financial attache
at the U.S. Embassy in Tokoyo.
Geithner and his wife, Carole Sonnenfeld Geithner, have two children.