Janet Yellen is a Jewish American economist and the current Vice Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve System. In October 2013, she was named to succeed Ben Bernanke as Chair of the Fed.
Yellen (born August 13, 1946) was born in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from Fort Hamilton High School and later graduated summa cum laude from Brown University with a degree in economics in 1967. Yellen received her Ph.D. in economics from Yale University in 1971.
From 1971 to 1976, Yellen taught as an assistant professor at Harvard and from 1977 to 1978 she worked as an economist with the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. In 1980, she began researching and teaching full time for the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business.
Yellen served as chair of President Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers from February 1997 to 1999, and was appointed as a member of the Federal Reserve System's Board of Governors from 1994 to 1997. From June 2004 until 2010, Yellen was the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
On April 28, 2010, President Barack Obama nominated Yellen to succeed Donald Kohn as vice-chair of the Federal Reserve System and in July of that year she was confirmed by the Senate Banking committee in a vote of 17 to 6.
On January 6, 2014, Yellen was confirmed by the Senate as Chairwoman by the narrowest vote margin ever for the position. In addition to becoming the first woman ever to hold the position, Yellen is also the third straight Jew as Chair following Bernanke and Alan Greenspan and the first Democrat to hold the position since Paul Volcker in 1979.