Lael Brainard is an American economist who has served on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors since 2014. She previously served as the United States Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs from 2010 to 2013.
The daughter of an American diplomat, Brainard was born in Hamburg and spent her childhood in West Germany and Poland. She graduated from Wesleyan University in 1983 and received a PhD from Harvard University in 1989 as a National Science Foundation Fellow. She was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for six years before joining the Clinton administration as an economic advisor in 1997. She then worked as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution from 2001 to 2009.
Brainard was nominated by Barack Obama to serve as the Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs at the Department of the Treasury on March 23, 2009. She was confirmed to the position by a 78–19 vote in the U.S. Senate on April 20, 2010, and was sworn in on the same day. She tendered her position on November 8, 2013, amid indicators in the professional community that she would be a viable nomination to the Fed board.
Following the resignation of Elizabeth Ashburn Duke, Brainard was nominated to the Fed board on January 13, 2014, alongside Stanley Fischer and Jerome Powell. She was confirmed by a 61–31 vote in the U.S. Senate on June 12, 2014; her 14-year term began four days later when she was sworn in by Fed chair Janet Yellen. She now serves as administrative governor and chair of four committees: Financial Stability; Federal Reserve Bank Affairs; Consumer and Community Affairs; and Payments, Clearing and Settlements.
President Biden nominated Lael Brainard to serve as Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve on November 22, 2021, succeeding Richard Clarida in the role.