Former colleague of Janet Yellen reacts to her historic nomination

President-elect Joe Biden made it official: he will nominate former Federal Reserve chair and UC Berkeley professor emeritus Janet Yellen for Treasury Secretary. 

If confirmed, Yellen would be the first woman in history to lead the Treasury Department.

“I think it was a confidence inspiring move, because she’s respected both at home and abroad,” said Professor Jim Wilcox, a former colleague of Yellen’s at the Haas School of Business at Berkeley. “She’s respected both in financial markets and in the rest of the economy.”

Professor Wilcox also served as a senior economist with the Federal Reserve. Wilcox says Biden’s nominee is the best person for the job.  She’s not stranger to breaking glass ceilings—she was the first woman to head the Federal Reserve.

“She was the chair of the President’s council of economic advisors, and she’s been of course the Federal Reserve chair, and now to be the treasury secretary is a trifecta you just don’t see,” said Wilcox.

More recently Yellen served on Governor Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 economic task force. Newsom gives her credit for the “California Rebuilding Fund.”

“She talked about the importance of providing first-loss funds and providing direct relief for businesses with this program,” said Newsom during his weekly briefing.

In a tweet after the announcement, Yellen said “To recover, we must restore the American dream—a society where each person can rise to their potential and dream even bigger for their children.”

Dreams impacted by the economic downturn caused by the pandemic – challenges Yellen and her team will have to face, head on. “A lot of households and businesses are running out of money and running out of time,” said Wilcox. “What we need is another relief package and the sooner the better.”