Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My lunch with Janet Yellen

Four years ago, the then head of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank and now the president's nominee to succeed Ben Bernanke as chair of the Federal Reserve, invited me to a lunch in Phoenix that she was attending.

The featured speaker that day was Daniel Tarullo, a member of the Fed’s board of governors. There were probably 120 or so Arizona business leaders in the room. I had the good fortune to sit at Vice Chair Yellen’s table with such notable Arizona business giants as Roy Vallee, who at that time was the executive chairman and CEO of Avnet, Inc. (Mr. Vallee has since taken the post of deputy chairman of the San Francisco Fed.)

One thing that stuck with me was why I was invited. Yellen wanted to hear from business leaders on the ground what was really happening in the Arizona and American economies.

My recollection is that she asked me several questions, which I answered to the best of my ability. She struck me as very intelligent, a good listener, courteous and curious. She was also down to earth and the type of person who is easy to engage in conversation. I liked her. 

Obviously this is one brief encounter.  But on a personal level, I am glad the president nominated her and I wish her well through the confirmation process. 

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