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Frankfurt am Main, 21.05.2024 12:00:00

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Frankfurt am Main, 21 May 2024

Frankfurt School of Finance & Management has conferred an honorary doctorate to US Treasury Secretary Dr Janet Yellen during an academic ceremony today.

In a keynote address, Secretary Janet Yellen outlined her perspectives on current global financial policy challenges. “I am grateful to Frankfurt School for awarding me this honorary doctorate and for organising today’s programme. I would also like to thank Professor Stieglitz, President Lagarde, and Minister Lindner for their exceptionally kind words. And thanks to all of you in the audience today — students, faculty, and many others,” said Janet Yellen.

Yellen speaking

In his laudatory speech, Professor Nils Stieglitz, Frankfurt School President and CEO, celebrated Janet Yellen’s contributions to science and practice: “Janet Yellen, in her dedication to impactful scientific theories which help solve practical problems, is exemplary for us at Frankfurt School. I am especially proud to award this honorary doctorate and welcome her to our community.”

Professor Jens Weidmann, Professor of Practice in Central Banking and Director of the Frankfurt School Centre for Central Banking, opened the academic ceremony and recalled Janet Yellen's presence at G7 and G20 meetings: “For me her analytical and sober approach to the many intricate topics on our plate, which was rooted in a firm knowledge of state-of-the-art economic research, was quite inspiring.”

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Other speakers during the ceremony included German Finance Minister Christian Lindner and Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank. Christine Lagarde emphasised: “When the Great Financial Crisis hit, Janet Yellen was one of the most influential voices — first as head of the San Francisco Fed, and later as Vice Chair of the Board of Governors — in pushing for the Fed to do everything it could to prevent a recession transforming into another Great Depression.”

Christian Lindner added: “As one of the outstanding fiscal policymakers of our time, Secretary Yellen is focused on driving change through economic action. Her singular expertise, diligence and impressive people skills make her a great partner on the other side of the Atlantic. I deeply appreciate her clear values and our always constructive discussions.”

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Janet Yellen

In 2021, Dr Janet Yellen was sworn in as the 78th Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. An economist by training, she took office after almost fifty years in academia and public service. She is the first person in American history to have led the White House Council of Economic Advisors, the Federal Reserve, and the Treasury Department.

Janet Louise Yellen was born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn in 1946. In 1967, Yellen graduated from Brown University and went on to earn her PhD at Yale. She was an assistant professor at Harvard until 1976 when she began working at the Federal Reserve Board. In 1980, Yellen joined the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley as a professor. Janet Yellen’s scholarship has focused on a range of issues pertaining to labour and macroeconomics. Her work on “efficiency wages” found that firms that offer better pay and working conditions tend to be rewarded with higher morale, reduced turnover and greater productivity.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton appointed Janet Yellen to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Three years later, he named her Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. In 2004, Secretary Yellen began her third tenure at the Federal Reserve, this time as President of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. From that post, she spotted a worrying economic trend – a bubble in home values. When the housing bubble popped in 2008, Secretary Yellen helped manage the resulting financial crisis and recession. In 2010, President Barack Obama, appointed her Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve, before nominating her to succeed Fed Chair Benjamin Bernanke as the nation’s top central banker. Secretary Yellen would serve as Chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 until 2018.

Prior to serving at the Treasury Department, Secretary Yellen was a Distinguished Fellow in Residence with the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution. During 2020-2021 she served as President of the American Economic Association. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations. She was also a founding member of the Climate Leadership Council.

Janet Yellen has received honorary doctorates from Bard College, Brown, the London School of Economics, NYU, the University of Baltimore, the University of Michigan, the University of Warwick and Yale.