President Obama announced today that Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard professor and head of the TARP oversight committee, will be appointed to a special advisory role and tasked with building up the consumer protection agency.
“[Treasury] Secretary Geithner and I both agree that Elizabeth is the best person to stand this agency up,” Obama said in a press conference.
Warren will serve as an assistant to the President and a special adviser to the Secretary of the Treasury. In this role, she will still oversee the creation of the agency, though it leaves open the possibility that someone else may be appointed the agency’s head.
The President referred to Warren as the "architect" of the new consumer agency and said that in her new position, "she will have direct access to me and Secretary Geithner."
There were rumors earlier in the week that Obama would appoint Warren to be the agency’s interim leader, in order to avoid a potentially divisive Senate vote, with the possibility of making her the agency’s permanent head down the road.
According to Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), one of Warren’s most outspoken supporters, Warren did not want to be nominated to a permanent role leading the agency, so this arrangement may have been as much about her desires as political pressure.
The president’s announcement this afternoon was merely a formality. Warren had already put an end to weeks of speculation with an official announcement earlier in the day.
“The President asked me, and I enthusiastically agreed,” Warren wrote on the White House website. “The President and I are committed to the same vision on CFPB, and I am confident that I will have the tools I need to get the job done.”