Federal Reserve Gov. John LaWare is resigning from the central bank's board, the Fed said Monday, giving President Clinton his third opportunity to name an individual to the influential body.
The 67-year-old LaWare, whose resignation takes effect April 30, is retiring. His term was to expire in 2002. He will not attend Tuesday's meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee. The policy arm is expected to leave interest rates alone.
Administration officials plan to move as quickly as possible to fill the vacancy created by LaWare, a former banker who was the Fed's point man on banking issues.
But officials said it is doubtful that somebody will be in place by the end of April. The nomination to the seven-member Fed board requires Senate confirmation.
"This is not something about which we had substantial forewarning," Deputy Treasury Secretary Frank Newman told reporters.
But with the ink barely dry on LaWare's resignation letter to Clinton, speculation has already begun about who the President will pick as his third nominee to the Fed board.
Last year, Clinton tapped Princeton University's Alan Blinder as vice chairman and Janet Yellen, a UC Berkeley economist, as governor.
"His last two appointments don't seem markedly different from the rest of the board," said David Wyss of DRI-McGraw/Hill Inc.
Newman--who told reporters he was not interested in the job--said some of the candidates the Administration considered last year will be candidates for LaWare's job.
They include White House budget director Alice Rivlin, Committee for Economic Development chief economist Van Doorn Ooms, Princeton economist Peter Kenen and Marcus Alexis, a Northwestern University economist.
Alexis would bring an African American's perspective to the all-white Fed board.
Before becoming a Fed governor, LaWare was chairman of Shawmut National Corp., a bank holding company in New England. His banking career spanned 35 years, beginning in 1953.
The affable LaWare was not outspoken in his views on the economy, letting his colleagues take the lead on that issue.
"I think his policy stance was vote with (Fed Chairman) Alan Greenspan," Wyss said. "He was not an economics expert and did not pretend to be. He was mildly hawkish on inflation."
LaWare, who had been considering leaving the Fed for some time, said he has no immediate plans for the future.
"I'd been talking with my family about it for several months," he said. "I have no plans at all. This just seemed like a very convenient time to sever the cord," LaWare said.