Top economic official announces resignation

/ Source: The Associated Press

Treasury Undersecretary John Taylor, the Bush administration's top official on international economic matters, announced Monday that he will step down next month.

In a letter to President Bush, Taylor said he would return to the private sector on April 22. Before joining the administration, Taylor had been a professor of economics at Stanford University.

Taylor said he was proud of the administration's efforts to reform the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The administration pushed to limit the size of the financial bailout packages offered by the IMF to countries in crisis and had fought to switch more of the World Bank's support from loans, which must be repaid, to grants.

Taylor had been the top Treasury official on economic matters since Bush took office. He had been mentioned as a possible choice to head the World Bank, a job that Bush announced last week will go to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.

Taylor, who developed the "Taylor rule" that is often used by economists to predict interest rate changes by the Federal Reserve, has also been mentioned as a possible successor to Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, whose term as a member of the Fed board will end in January.

Treasury Secretary John Snow praised Taylor as a "moral and intellectual leader" at Treasury.

"Every central banker and finance minister I have met has been a student of John Taylor's work — some have even been students in his classrooms," Snow said in a statement.

Snow praised Taylor for the role he played in helping to forge an international coalition to track down the sources of terrorist financing after the 2001 terrorist attacks. He said Taylor was also instrumental in introducing a new currency in Iraq and getting agreement to reduce Iraq's foreign debt burden by 80 percent.