UPDATE 1-U.S. Treasury's top international diplomat to step down

Jason Lange
Monday, 4 Nov 2013 | 9:29 PM ET

WASHINGTON, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Lael Brainard, a top economic diplomat at the U.S. Treasury, will step down from her post on Friday, a Treasury official said, amid reports she is under consideration for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board.

As undersecretary of the Treasury for international affairs since 2010, Brainard, 51, has played a key role in pushing China toward a flexible currency and pressing Europe to tackle its debt crisis more aggressively.

The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal have reported that Brainard has been under consideration to fill a vacancy at the Federal Reserve. The Treasury official, who spoke on Monday on condition of anonymity, did not disclosure the reason for her departure.

White House officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Brainard cut her policymaking teeth during the Clinton administration, working alongside many of the officials who later ended serving under President Barack Obama, including top White House economic adviser Gene Sperling and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

Brainard, who has a doctorate in economics from Harvard University, served as deputy director of Clinton's National Economic Council, where she focused on international trade and financial policy. She was also the U.S. representative to the meetings of the Group of Eight industrialized nations.

The Senate took more than a year to confirm Brainard for her current post, slowed by a committee probe into her personal taxes.

In recent months, she has been seen as a steady hand on international economics for Lew, who became the top Treasury official in February and who had focused mainly on budget issues during his long career in government.

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