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Gary Cohn, the top economic advisor to President Donald Trump, has been floated as the top contender for the next chair of the Federal Reserve, but some of his old colleagues aren’t so sure he’s up for it, according to a new report from Bloomberg.
Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council and former COO of Goldman Sachs, is reportedly interested in the top job at the Fed and Trump told the Wall Street Journal in July that he is a serious candidate.
Despite his frontrunner status, some of Cohn’s old coworkers at Goldman Sachs doubted Cohn’s credentials in interviews with Bloomberg’s Jenna Smialek, Max Abelson, and Dakin Campbell.
“I can’t see why he would want to spend all his hours in those meetings dealing with material that’s as dry as a bone,” Jay Dweck, a former Goldman partner, said. “He has no patience for that kind of stuff.”
Another former Goldman coworker laughed when they started considering Cohn taking questions from reporters at the Fed’s quarterly press conferences.
Cohn would be the first Fed chair without a Ph.D. since Paul Volcker was appointed in 1979. He also does not have a background in macroeconomics, coming up as a commodities trader at Goldman and later leading the bank’s mortgage operations.
Given these credentials, former Fed officials interviewed by Bloomberg had reservations.
“He’d have to read a lot, and I don’t know if that’s what he’d like to do,” former Dallas Fed president Richard Fisher told Bloomberg.
It wasn’t all doubts, however, as some colleagues thought that Cohn could make up for the gaps in his knowledge with his hard work.
“What he lacks in economic policy and political know-how, he makes up for in tenacity and loyalty,” Christopher Pia, a hedge fund manager and friend, said to Bloomberg.