WASHINGTON – Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Donald Kohn’s decision to step down at the end of June gives President Barack Obama a chance to put a bigger imprint on the central bank.
Kohn, the Fed’s second-highest ranking official, has played a major role in shaping the Fed’s strategy in fighting the worst financial and economic crises to hit the country since the Great Depression.
His departure will open up a third seat on the seven-member Federal Reserve board in Washington. Board members are picked by the president and must be confirmed by the Senate.
The president will have a delicate task before him. He will need to pick candidates who appeal to Democrats and aren’t objectionable to Republicans. All this in an election year, when many Americans are upset with Obama about Wall Street bailouts, high unemployment and rising home foreclosures.