WASHINGTON -- Lael Brainard, the Treasury department’s top official in dealing with global financial issues, will step down this week amid speculation she could be nominated to the Federal Reserve Board.
Brainard has served as undersecretary for international affairs since 2010, helping lead U.S. efforts to deal with the European debt crisis and an increasingly complex economic relationship with China. She is one of the department’s highest-ranking women.
Friday will be her last day, a Treasury official said.
Her departure follows several weeks of speculation that President Obama would nominate Brainard to fill an open seat on the Fed’s Board of Governors.
Last month, Obama nominated Fed Vice Chair Janet L. Yellen to succeed Ben S. Bernanke as head of the central bank. But Yellen soon could be the only woman on the seven-member board.
Elizabeth Duke resigned this summer. Another Fed governor, Sarah Bloom Raskin, has been nominated to be deputy Treasury secretary.
There already is one vacancy on the Fed board, and the looming departures of Raskin and Bernanke will open up two others.
Brainard is an economist and former associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She served as deputy national economic advisor to President Clinton.