Ben Bernanke

DEFINITION of 'Ben Bernanke'

The chairman of the board of governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve. Bernanke took over the helm from Alan Greenspan on February 1, 2006, ending Greenspan's 18-year leadership at the Fed. A former Fed governor, Bernanke was chairman of the U.S. President's Council of Economic Advisors prior to being nominated as Greenspan's successor in late 2005.

BREAKING DOWN 'Ben Bernanke'

Born Ben Shalom Bernanke on December 13, 1953, he was the son of a pharmacist and a schoolteacher and was raised in the Southeastern United States. A high-achieving student, Bernanke completed his undergraduate degree summa cum laude at Harvard University, then went on to complete his Ph.D. at MIT in 1979. He taught economics at Stanford and then Princeton University until 2002, when he left his academic work for public service.

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