FILE: Oct. 16, 2009: Lawrence Summers, then-White House chief economic adviser, speaks at the Buttonwood Gathering in New York.AP
Lawrence Summers, who was considered the leading candidate to succeed Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve chairman, has withdrawn from consideration, the White House said Sunday.
Summers' withdrawal followed growing resistance from critics, including some members of the Senate committee that would need to back his nomination. His exit could open the door for his chief rival, Janet Yellen, the Fed's vice chair.
If chosen by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate, Yellen would become the first woman to lead the Fed.
In the past, Obama has mentioned only one other candidate as possibly being under consideration: Donald Kohn, a former Fed vice chair. But Kohn, 70, has been considered a long shot.
The administration also reached out to former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner early in the process. Geithner maintained that he was not interested in being considered.
Obama is expected to announce a nominee for the Fed chairmanship as early as this month. Bernanke's term ends Jan. 31, 2014.
In a statement, Obama said he had accepted Summers' decision.
"Larry was a critical member of my team as we faced down the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and it was in no small part because of his expertise, wisdom and leadership that we wrestled the economy back to growth and made the kind of progress we are seeing today," Obama said.