Trump Met With Two Possible Candidates for Fed Chairman Job
By Michael C. Bender
WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's search for the next Federal Reserve chair ramped up this week when he interviewed a current and a former central bank governor for the job, and he said Friday he would make a decision within three weeks.
Mr. Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met with Fed governor Jerome Powell on Wednesday and with former Fed governor Kevin Warsh on Thursday to discuss their possible nomination to run the world's most powerful central bank, according to administration officials.
Other names said to be in contention include current Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen, whose term expires in early February, Stanford University economist John Taylor and John Allison, the former BB&T Bank chief executive, according to people familiar with the process. Mr. Allison was offered a position on the central bank's board of governors earlier in Mr. Trump's tenure, but turned it down, said people familiar with the offer.
Mr. Powell joined the Fed's board of governors in 2012. He was a partner at the Carlyle Group, a private-equity firm, from 1997 to 2005 and a lawyer and investment banker in New York. He served as an undersecretary and assistant secretary for domestic finance at the U.S. Treasury from 1990 to 1993.
He has emerged as a reliable ally of Ms. Yellen's on monetary policy, while also calling for easing some of the bank rules put in place following the financial crisis. This puts him largely in sync with Mr. Trump's positions favoring low interest rates and financial deregulation.
Mr. Warsh served as Fed governor from 2006 to 2011, during the financial crisis, and was an economic adviser to President George W. Bush from 2002 to 2006. He was a member of President Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum, a group of business leaders that disbanded in August in protest over what they said was Mr. Trump's failure to sufficiently condemn racism. He was also an economic adviser to 2016 Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, who was considered the front-runner for the nomination before Mr. Trump's rise surprised the political establishment.
Mr. Warsh is married to Jane Lauder, granddaughter of cosmetics icon Estée Lauder. His father-in-law, businessman Ronald Lauder, has been pushing the White House to have the president name his son-in-law to the central bank's highest post, said people familiar with those conversations.
The search for a new Fed chairman has been largely informal until now. Several White House officials had described the short-list of candidates as existing only in Mr. Trump's mind. But the president has started to interview candidates in recent days, one White House official said.