Gary Cohn is out of the running for chairman of the Federal Reserve, according to a new report.
President Donald Trump does not intend to appoint the former Goldman Sachs (GS) - Get Report chief operating officer as Janet Yellen's successor as head of the Fed, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing three people familiar with the matter. Trump wants to keep Cohn, his director of the National Economic Council, in his current role as tax reform efforts move forward.
"No decision has been made and no candidate has been ruled out but Gary's role is too crucial to getting tax reform done," a senior administration official familiar with the president's thinking told Bloomberg, adding it may be "too important for him to continue to be the lead, for him to announce a change at this time."
Cohn was, according to multiple published reports, one of five finalists in the running to head the Federal Reserve alongside Yellen, Federal Reserve Governor Jay Powell, Stanford University economist John Taylor and former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh.
Politico reported that Cohn was on Capitol Hill on Wednesday selling the White House's tax plan, where he downplayed the impact of scrapping the state-and-local-tax deduction and touted the idea of a gas tax to fund infrastructure spending.
Many have speculated that Cohn, who is part of the so-called "Big Six" spearheading tax efforts, will leave the Trump administration once legislation is done, especially if he does not get the Fed spot.
Rumors he might exit in August in the wake of Trump's equivocal response to racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia caused stocks to waver. Some on Wall Street have worried that markets will stumble if he leaves.
But on Wednesday, investors appeared unfazed, instead focusing on the string of earnings disappointments out earlier in the day that determined the market's mood. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all traded modestly lower since the beginning of the day but continued a slow recovery from session lows once the Cohn news broke.
The White House has indicated the president plans to make an announcement on his pick for chair of the Federal Reserve before he heads to Asia on Nov. 3. He reportedly polled Republican Senators about their preferences at a luncheon on Tuesday and on Wednesday told Fox Business Network Yellen would be "terrific," though he has reservations about renominating the person selected by his predecessor, Barack Obama.
"In one way, I'd have to say, you'd like to make your own mark," he said, "which is maybe one of the things she's got a little bit against her."
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Keris Alison Lahiff contributed to this report.