February is starting with Janet Yellen as the new chair of the U.S. central bank.
Her appointment as head of the Federal Reserve means both change and continuity.
Change, because Ms. Yellen is the first woman in the 100 years of the Federal Reserve's existence to direct the monetary policy of the U.S. Continuity, because Ms. Yellen has occupied key positions within the Federal Reserve.
She served six years, from 2004-2010, as head of one of the system's regional banks, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
Since October 2010, she was vice chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, under outgoing chairman Ben Bernanke.
Previously, from 1994-1997, she was a member of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve, and during the Clinton administration she was head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, from 1997-1999.
She has a Ph.D. in economics from Yale and is professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, where she taught economics since 1980.
If the U.S. economic reactivation turns more vigorous, Ms. Yellen will face an immediate challenge.
How to dismantle the stimulus measures the central bank has applied to sustain the still modest recovery.
The timing of these measures is essential. Too soon may hinder the recovery, too late may generate inflation.
Isaac Cohen is an international analyst and consultant, a commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Espaņol TV and radio, and a former director, UNECLAC Washington Office.
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