Summers drops role as Citigroup consultant

Former treasury secretary Larry Summers has stopped working as a consultant for Citigroup while he is under consideration to be the next Federal Reserve chairman, Citigroup said Sunday.

Summers was a consultant for the group in 2012 and this year, Citigroup spokeswoman Danielle Romero-Apsilos said in an email to AFP.

Summers, 58, is believed to be the frontrunner to succeed Ben Bernanke as Fed chairman, who is stepping down early next year.

His contender is Janet Yellen, currently the number two official at the Fed.

US President Barack Obama has yet to make up his mind. Whoever is nominated needs the green light from Congress.

Summers is a widely respected economist with a sometimes brash character.

He has drawn criticism for his close ties to Wall Street and his role in the deregulation of the banking sector in the 1990s.

Four Democrats who sit on the banking committee that will oversee hearings on the nominee have said they will not vote in favor of Summers.

That means Summers would need support from Republicans to win over a majority for confirmation.

The debate over who will replace Bernanke comes as the Fed is beginning a transition in its monetary policy.

On Wednesday, the US central bank's policy-making Federal Open Market Committee is expected to announce a slight easing of a bond purchasing policy designed to encourage US economic recovery.

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