Timothy F Geithner, the 47-year-old president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York who spent his growing up years in India and other foreign countries, emerged on Friday as President-elect Barack Obama’s choice for treasury secretary.
Geithner’s one-time boss Lawrence Summers, a former Bill Clinton treasury secretary who was also in the running for the job, will serve as a senior adviser in the White House.
The news of Geithner’s selection cheered the markets; the Dow Jones industrial average rose nearly 500 points. A formal announcement could come as early as Monday.
In another indication that the ailing economy is his top priority, Obama in his Saturday radio address to the country announced an initiative to save or create 2.5 million jobs in the next two years.
He said he has directed his team to formulate a recovery plan that will lay the foundation for a strong economy, and he intends to sign it soon after taking office on January 20. “We will put put people back to work” rebuilding roads, modernising schools and building wind farms, solar panels and fuel-efficient cars, Obama said.
Geithner has been in the thick of efforts to tackle the US downturn and the global credit crisis along with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The New York Fed is the US central bank’s link to Wall Street and financial markets.
Geithner is a Treasury veteran, having worked in the department for 13 years till 2001; his last job there was undersecretary for international affairs. He has experience of working on the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s. He has also done stints with the International Monetary Fund and Kissinger Associates.
Geithner graduated from Dartmouth College, then did a master’s in international economics and East Asian studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
He spent most of his childhood abroad, living in India, Thailand and Zimbabwe, AP reports. His father, Peter Geithner, is an Asia expert who worked at the Ford Foundation for 28 years, the news agency says. Geithner, who is the same age as Obama, also plays pickup basketball.
In other Cabinet news, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson was seen as likely to be nominated commerce secretary.
Clinton likely to accept offer
Hillary Rodham Clinton has decided to give up her Senate seat to become secretary of state in the Obama administration, making her the public face to the world for the man who dashed her own hopes for the presidency, confidants of Clinton said.
The accord between the two leading figures of the Democratic Party was the culmination of a weeklong drama that riveted the nation’s capital.
Pritzker knocks down cabinet rumours
Chicago businesswoman Penny Pritzker said on Thursday she was not a candidate to serve as commerce secretary in President-Barack Obama’s administration.
(With Agencies input)