Five Safe-Bet Geithner Replacements

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Talk that President Obama may give Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner the boot won't seem to go away.

Geithner took two tough hits last month. First, he was hauled before Congress to answer fresh questions over poor disclosures related to AIG ( AIG). Members of the House Oversight Committee took the opportunity to blast Geithner once again for failing to pay his taxes, an issue that nearly prevented him from being confirmed in the first place.

>>Here's a list of five longshot Geithner successors.

Then Obama appeared to sideline Geithner the Good Cop, seen as too cozy with big banks like Goldman Sachs ( GS), Morgan Stanley ( MS), Citigroup ( C), JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) and Bank of America ( BAC), replacing him on the field with Bad Cop Paul Volcker. The Volcker Rule, as the President called it, would break up the big banks and keep them out of profitable but risky businesses like proprietary trading.

Less attention has been given, however, to who might replace him. That may be because the job has rarely appeared more difficult, or more difficult to fill. This slideshow features five safe-bet names to take the reins should Geithner get shown the door.

Alan Blinder, Princeton Professor, former Clinton advisor and Fed Vice Chairman

Blinder is a widely respected authority on Big Financial Topics. He appears to be a moderate, but his Brooklyn accent helps him deliver his "on the one hand"s and "on the other hand"s while managing to sound a little less dweebish than Geithner.

When Ben Bernanke's reconfirmation as Federal Reserve Chairman was in doubt, he was mentioned by The Wall Street Journal as a possible candidate.

Eric Schmidt, CEO and Chairman of Google (GOOG)

Schmidt appears to be very close to Obama, though his proximity has prompted some to questions about whether such closeness is in the public interest.

While Schmidt presumably doesn't know much about the banking industry, one could argue that if the CEO of Google can't figure out how to reform it, it has clearly gotten too complex and must be radically simplified.

Roger Altman, Evercore (EVR) founder and Chairman

Altman served stints in the Treasury under Presidents Carter and Clinton. He is a perennial Democratic contender for the top Treasury spot, and threw his support behind Hilary Clinton in hopes of getting that opportunity. While he is a Wall Street person, he would argue he isn't because he runs a boutique investment bank rather than a big, bad multi-tentacled monster like Goldman.

Altman's big issue is the giant Federal deficit. He talked to Charlie Rose about it for a whole hour. He also can say that he left the Treasury before Clinton, Robert Rubin, Larry Summers and Geithner deregulated the credit default swaps market. Arguing he would have done different may be a stretch, though.

Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase CEO and Chairman

Dimon may be the only banker popular and respected enough to get approved by Congress. He has been widely discussed as a candidate for Treasury Secretary for the past year. Still, he is a big bad banker: no way around it. It is unclear if Obama would want to go this route.

Janet Yellen, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Yellen was also mentioned by The Wall Street Journal as a potential replacement for Bernanke, and Columbia University's Stiglitz told me he thinks she would be a good candidate for the Treasury post.

She has kept a low profile too, which may be the best political move any public official can make these days.

-- Written by Dan Freed in New York.

>>Here's a list of five longshot Geithner successors.

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