Fed Vice Chair Fischer Stepping Down, Citing ‘Personal Reasons’

(CN) – Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer is stepping down from his position at the central bank, having forwarded his resignation to  President Donald Trump on Thursday.

Fischer, 73, cited “personal reasons,” for his resignation, which will take effect Oct. 13.

He was appointed to the Fed by President Barack Obama in 2014 to a term as vice chair that would have expired in June 2018. His resignation creates yet another opening for Trump to fill at a critical time for the Fed.

Janet Yellen’s term as chair expires in February. Trump has said that a renomination of Yellen is under consideration, though the White House is also looking at other candidates.

Trump already has nominated Randal Quarles to one vacancy and now will have at least two more beside, potentially, Yellen.

In addition, Fischer’s announcement comes as the federal Reserve is poised to begin unwinding the $4.5 trillion balance sheet of bonds it built up during its economic stimulus efforts. It is also trying to normalize interest rates after keeping its benchmark rate near zero for seven years.

In his letter to the president, Fischer said “It has been a great privilege to serve on the Federal Reserve Board and, most especially, to work alongside Chair [Janet] Yellen as well as many other dedicated and talented men and women throughout the Federal Reserve system.”

Fischer is a former vice chairman of Citigroup, the former first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, and the former chief economist of the World Bank.

He also served as governor of the Bank of Israel from 2005 to 2013.

Fischer used his resignation letter to offer a summation of what he sees as the Fed’s accomplishments during his tenure as vice chair.

“During my time on the Board, the economy has continued to strengthen, providing millions of additional jobs for working Americans,” he wrote. “Informed by the lessons of the recent financial crisis, we have built upon earlier steps to make the financial system stronger and more resilient and better able to provide the credit so vital to the prosperity of our country’s households and businesses.”

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