President-elect Barack Obama picked Timothy Geithner, head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, to be his Treasury secretary. Geithner has helped lead U.S. efforts to combat the deepest financial crisis in seven decades, helping oversee the decisions this year to take over American International Group Inc., rescue Bear Stearns Cos. and leave Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. to fail. Geithner, 47, served as an undersecretary for international affairs under Larry Summers, and has been at the helm of the New York Fed since November 2003.
As head of the New York Fed, Geithner has served as the central bank’s top liaison with Wall Street. Geithner oversaw meetings at his bank to attempt to head off Lehman’s failure in September, later hosting gatherings on how to resolve AIG.
Geithner is no stranger to Washington or the Treasury. Before taking over the New York Fed in 2003, he spent most of the previous 18 years working in the nation’s capital, first at Kissinger Associates, then at the Treasury and finally at the International Monetary Fund.
During that time, Geithner earned what his one-time mentor Summers called a “doctorate in financial policy.” He also developed a skill-set his supporters say makes him well suited for his new job: calmness under pressure, an ability to see many sides of a problem and a sense of the politically possible.