President Obama; Jack Lew, Obama's choice to be the next Treasury… (Carolyn Kaster, Associated…)
WASHINGTON — It didn't take long for former Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner to land a new job, and it's not on Wall Street, though it's in the same area code.
The Council on Foreign Relations, a nonpartisan think tank in New York, said Wednesday that Geithner would become its newest senior fellow this month. He stepped down as Treasury secretary Jan. 25.
President Obama has nominated White House Chief of Staff Jacob J. Lew to replace him.
Geithner has followed this route before.
He was a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in 2001 after his first stint at the Treasury Department and before he started a job at the International Monetary Fund. After the IMF, Geithner served as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 2003 until he became Treasury secretary in 2009.
Describing Geithner as a "tireless, creative and responsible custodian of the public trust," Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said that hiring him "only strengthens our capacity to produce thoughtful analysis of issues at the intersection of economic, political and strategic developments."
Because of Geithner's long history dealing with the financial industry and his role in the taxpayer-backed bailouts of banks during the Great Recession, some speculated he might take a job on Wall Street.
Geithner bristled when people assumed he had worked for the industry, which he had not, and he recently told New York magazine it was "extremely unlikely" he would take a position on Wall Street. He also dismissed another rumored landing spot as successor to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, whose term ends in early 2014.
Geithner said the bailouts were about saving the economy, not the big banks.
"If you want to protect the economy from a failing financial system, you have to get the system functionally working, and that requires you to do things that look like you are helping the people who helped cause the crisis," Geithner said.
"People describe this as the rescue of the financial system," he said. "That's not really right; it was the rescue of the economy from the failing financial system."