It was the third time in as many years the president had turned to the 51-year-old Bernanke for a sensitive post. Bush named him to the Fed board in 2002, then made him chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers earlier this year.
The appointment is subject to Senate confirmation, and Bush called for swift action.
Whatever the Senate's reaction, U.S. investors liked what they heard. Stocks rose as word of Bernanke's appointment circulated in advance of the presidential announcement.
A summa cum laude graduate of Harvard University in 1975, Bernanke received his doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1979. During his years in Boston, he focused on the economic underpinnings of the Great Depression and the losing track record of the city's beloved baseball team, the Red Sox.
"Economics is a very difficult subject," Bernanke once said. "I've compared it to trying to learn how to repair a car when the engine is running."
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