Fed chair Janet Yellen to step down

Janet Yellen, chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Janet Yellen, chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve.Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

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By Lucy Bayly

Janet Yellen announced Monday that she will step down from the Federal Reserve board of governors once her successor is sworn in next year. Yellen's term as chairperson ends Feb. 3 — but she could have stayed on the board until 2024.

The move leaves a total of four spots open on the seven-member board, paving the way for President Donald Trump to significantly reshape the nation's monetary policymaking.

Trump already tapped current Fed governor Jerome "Jay" Powell this month to serve as the next Fed chair, pending Senate confirmation, and appointed former Wall Streeter Randy Quarles to fill an open position as governor and vice chair for regulation.

"I am gratified that the financial system is much stronger than a decade ago," wrote Yellen in her resignation letter to Trump. "I am also gratified by the substantial improvement in the economy since the crisis."

Yellen joined the central bank in 1994. During her one-term tenure as chair, Yellen presided over four rate hikes and saw the unemployment rate drop to 4.1 percent, the lowest since 2000.

In nominating Powell as her successor, Trump praised Yellen's performance, saying she is a "wonderful woman who's done a terrific job."

Yellen was appointed Fed chair by President Barack Obama in 2014.