(Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who helped steer the U.S. economy through its darkest days since the Great Depression, was named Time magazine’s 2009 Person of the Year on Wednesday.
Here are some facts about Bernanke.
* Bernanke, 56, was named by Republican President George W. Bush to succeed Alan Greenspan as chairman of the Federal Reserve — the U.S. central bank — in 2006. President Barack Obama, a Democrat, renominated him in August.
* Bernanke, whose reconfirmation is due to be put to a vote by a Senate panel on Thursday, has been credited with taking extraordinary measures to prevent the U.S. credit crisis from turning into an economic depression but he concedes that the Fed, among others, failed to spot the crisis before it struck.
* Bernanke has taken unusual high-profile steps for a Fed chief, appearing this year on a popular U.S. newsmagazine program, CBS’s “60 Minutes”, and at a town-hall meeting in Kansas City, Missouri.
* Before his appointment as chairman of the Federal Reserve on February 1, 2006, he was chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, from June 2005 to January 2006.
* Bernanke had been a Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University in New Jersey from 1985 to 2002. He taught also at Stanford University, New York University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is an expert on the Great Depression and monetary policy.
* Bernanke was born December 13, 1953, in Augusta, Georgia, and grew up in Dillon, South Carolina. He received a B.A. in economics in 1975 from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in economics in 1979 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
* Bernanke has said the Fed has the tools necessary to unwind the extraordinary stimulus applied to fight the financial crisis without sparking unwanted inflation.
* Financial markets have given Bernanke high marks on the job but lawmakers in Congress have balked at giving the Fed new powers to oversee the U.S. financial system, mindful of the anger among voters who see the Fed as having bailed out Wall Street while the unemployment rate soared above 10 percent.