Mnuchin Says Ph.D. Isn't Job Requirement for Next Fed Vice Chair

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump is seeking a qualified candidate and not necessarily a Ph.D. economist to serve as Federal Reserve chairman nominee Jerome Powell’s vice-chair.

“We’re not putting any criteria on the job,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday at an event in Washington. “We’re looking for the best person.”

Trump’s nomination for Powell to lead the Fed, which is subject to Senate confirmation, raised some eyebrows as he would be the first chair without a doctorate in economics since Paul Volcker served from 1979 to 1987. That has fueled speculation that Trump could nominate a trained economist for the vice chair spot, a seat left vacant when Stanley Fischer left in October. Mnuchin said he was impressed by Powell, a former lawyer who’s been a Fed governor since 2012, and that they’ve worked together on regulatory issues.

The Fed’s hundreds of Ph.D. economists can supply the research and modeling needed to support the central bank leadership, said Mnuchin. He pointed out that not everyone working at the White House has a traditional background -- namely Trump himself.

“The president doesn’t have government experience, and I think he’s doing a great job,” Mnuchin said.

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.