Vice-chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen is by far the most credible successor to central bank chief Ben Bernanke, former Fed Governor Robert Heller told CNBC on Wednesday.
Heller's call comes amid talk that Bernanke could leave his post at the end of his term in January after U.S. President Barack Obama hinted at the Fed chief's departure in a television interview on Monday.
"Janet Yellen has the best resume for the job, bar none," Heller told CNBC Asia's "Squawk Box."
"She has been a Fed insider for a long time... She has earned the job and is well qualified and Obama is also under pressure to nominate more women, so he would have to tell his own constituency that Janet wasn't qualified and she is," he added.
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Yellen, aged 66, has been Fed vice chair since 2010 and is viewed as a strong contender to be the next head of the U.S. central bank.
A Reuters poll on June 12 found that an overwhelming majority of economists predicted she would get the job.
Other contenders include Harvard economist Lawrence Summers, Timothy Geithner, Obama's first-term Treasury secretary, Roger Ferguson, chief executive officer of TIAA-CREF, which manages retirement funds for many U.S. schools and hospitals, and retired Fed vice-chairman Donald Kohn.
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Heller said that if Yellen, who is known for her dovish stance on monetary policy, becomes Fed chief she could surprise markets with some bold initial moves.
"There is that irony that if someone is known as a dove, they first have to show that they are tough. So one would expect some of her early actions would be to surprise people on the hawkish side just to show she is macho," he added.