Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers has removed his name from contention… (Mark Wilson / Getty Images )
WASHINGTON -- Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers has withdrawn his name from consideration to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve chairman, President Obama said Sunday.
Summers had been a leading contender to replace current Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, whose term expires in January, and in recent weeks had appeared to be the front-runner.
His withdrawal opens the door for the other leading contender, Janet L. Yellen, the Fed's current vice chair. If nominated and confirmed, she who would be the first woman to head the central bank.
Summers, a former top economic advisor to Obama, had faced strong opposition from many Democrats. He is known for being difficult to work with and has been criticized by liberals for his support for some financial-industry deregulation in the late 1990s when he was in the Clinton administration.
Doubts had grown in recent days that Summers, had he been nominated, could be confirmed by the Senate. In a statement issued by the White House, Obama said he spoke with Summers on Sunday and his former aide asked to withdraw his name from consideration.
“Larry was a critical member of my team as we faced down the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and it was in no small part because of his expertise, wisdom, and leadership that we wrestled the economy back to growth and made the kind of progress we are seeing today,” Obama said. “I will always be grateful to Larry for his tireless work and service on behalf of his country, and I look forward to continuing to seek his guidance and counsel in the future.”
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