- Janet Yellen has been sworn in as the chair of the Federal Reserve, becoming the first woman to hold the post at the U.S. central bank, replacing Ben Bernanke in the role.

Ms. Yellen was sworn by Fed Governor Daniel K. Tarullo, the bank said in a statement on Monday, beginning a four year term after her Senate confirmation on January 6.

Ms. Yellen served as the Fed’s vice chairwoman for three years and is also a former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. She is professor emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley, where she has been a faculty member since 1980, specializing in business and economics.

The new Fed chair will face the challenge of leading the bank in phasing out its asset purchase program, known as quantitative easing, and considering when to raise interest rates.

The quantitative easing program, intended to stimulate the economy, has resulted in the purchase of trillions of dollars in Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities since the start of the recession.

Cuts to the Fed’s stimulus program have already sparked turmoil in emerging market economies.

The Fed has kept its short-term interest rate close to zero since late 2008 in an effort to spur economic growth.

Ben Bernanke is returning to academia after eight years as Fed chairman. He joined the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, as a "distinguished fellow in residence" on Monday.

Mr. Bernanke was an economics professor at Princeton University from 1985 to 2002, when joined the Fed Board of Governors.

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