Lael Brainard

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Lael Brainard
Lael Brainard (14438068496).jpg
Federal Reserve Governor
Assumed office
June 12, 2014
President Barack Obama
Donald Trump
Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs
In office
April 20, 2010 – November 8, 2013
President Barack Obama
Preceded by David McCormick
Succeeded by Nathan Sheets
Personal details
Born 1962 (age 54–55)
Hamburg, Germany
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Wesleyan University
Harvard University

Lael Brainard (born 1962) is a member of the U.S. Federal Reserve's Board of Governors, and served as the United States Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution from 2001 to 2009, and served as the vice president and director of the Global Economy and Development program from June 2006 to March 16, 2009. Brainard was confirmed by the United States Senate to her post on April 20, 2010.[1][2] She left her post at the U.S. Treasury in November 2013.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Brainard grew up as a U.S. expatriate in Communist Poland and Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall.[4] She is an alumna of George School, in the class of 1979, a boarding school in Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Brainard received masters and doctoral degrees in economics from Harvard University, where she was a National Science Foundation Fellow. She graduated with highest honors from Wesleyan University with a degree from the College of Social Studies. She is the recipient of a White House Fellowship and a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship, a Marshall Scholar elect, and a member of the Wesleyan University Board of Trustees, Council on Foreign Relations, and Aspen Strategy Group.[5]

Professional career[edit]

Brainard served as Associate Professor of Applied Economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where her publications made important contributions on the relationship between offshore production, trade, and jobs; the measurement of structural and cyclical unemployment in the U.S. economy; and strategic trade policy. Brainard has also worked at McKinsey & Company advising corporate clients on strategic challenges and on microenterprise in West Africa.

Clinton administration[edit]

Brainard served as Deputy National Economic Adviser and Chair of the Deputy Secretaries Committee on International Economics during the Clinton administration. As Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, she helped build a new White House organization to address global economic challenges such as the Asian financial crisis and China's accession to the World Trade Organization. As the U.S. Sherpa to the G8, she helped shape the 2000 G8 summit that, for the first time, included leaders of the poorest nations and laid the foundations for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. She had been mentioned as a likely U.S. Trade Representative in the Obama administration.[6]

Obama administration[edit]

On March 23, 2009, President Obama nominated Brainard to serve as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, to replace David H. McCormick, whose term had ended with the end of the Bush administration.[7][8]

On November 18, 2009, the New York Times reported that Senator Charles Grassley, the chairman and ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, had cleared the way for her Senate confirmation as Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs. Reuters News Service reported on December 23, 2009, that the Senate Finance Committee had approved Brainard to become the "Treasury Department's top global diplomat, a job that would give her a key role in the bid to push China toward a flexible currency".[9]

On April 19, 2010, the Senate voted 84-10 for cloture for Brainard's nomination.[10] The Senate confirmed her in a 78-19 vote on April 20, 2010.

Brainard served as the principal policy advisor to Secretary Timothy Geithner on international economic matters at the Treasury Department. Treasury described her role as advancing the Administration’s agenda of strengthening U.S. leadership in the global economy to foster growth, creating economic opportunities for Americans, and addressing transnational economic challenges, including development as well as climate change.[11] Brainard was the highest-ranking female Treasury official in U.S. history until Sarah Bloom Raskin became Deputy Secretary. [12][13] She left her post in the US Treasury in November 2013.[3] [14]

Brainard was nominated to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in January 2014.[15] She was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 61-31 on June 12, 2014, and began her term on June 16, 2014.[16][17]


Brainard is co‑editor of Too Poor For Peace? (2007); co-editor of Offshoring White Collar Work (2006); editor of Transforming the Development Landscape: the Role of the Private Sector (2006) and Security by Other Means: Foreign Assistance, Global Poverty and American Leadership (2006); and coauthor of The Other War: Global Poverty and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (2004).


  1. ^ "Lael Brainard Confirmed as Under Secretary for International Affairs". Retrieved 2016-06-18. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Brainard to leave Treasury". Retrieved 2016-06-18. 
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 24, 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2012. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Smith, Ben, "Labor Pained", Politico, November 25, 2008. Accessed November 26, 2008.
  7. ^ "President Obama Announces Additional Treasury Department Nominations". 2009-03-23. Retrieved 2016-06-18. 
  8. ^ "Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate, 3/23/09". 2009-03-23. Retrieved 2016-06-18. 
  9. ^ "Senate panel OKs Lael Brainard for Treasury post". Reuters. 23 December 2009. 
  10. ^ "U.S. Senate: Roll Call Vote". 27 January 2015. Retrieved 2016-06-18. 
  11. ^ "International Affairs". Retrieved 2016-06-18. 
  12. ^ "Globalizing Reform". The American Prospect. 
  13. ^ Lowrey, Annie, "Lael Brainard is Washington's Financial Envoy to Euro Crisis", The New York Times, 26 January 2012. Retrieved 28 Jan. 2012.
  14. ^ "Treasury Officials". Retrieved 2016-06-18. 
  15. ^ Puzzanghera, Jim (10 January 2014). "Obama to nominate Stanley Fischer, 2 others to Federal Reserve seats". LA Times. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  16. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress - 2nd Session, Vote 189". Senate Bill Clerk. June 12, 2014. Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  17. ^ "FRB: Lael Brainard". Retrieved 2016-06-18. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
David McCormick
Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs