Geithner lands at think tank after leaving Treasury

He's now a senior fellow at the nonpartisan N.Y. group

WASHINGTON — It didn't take long for former Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner to land a new job, and it's not on Wall Street — though it's in the same area code.

The Council on Foreign Relations, a nonpartisan think tank based in New York, said Wednesday that Geithner would become its newest senior fellow later this month. He stepped down as Treasury secretary on Jan. 25.

President Barack Obama has nominated White House Chief of Staff Jacob J. Lew to replace him.

Geithner has followed this route before. He was a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in 2001 after his first stint at the Treasury Department and before he started a job at the International Monetary Fund.

After the IMF, Geithner served as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 2003 until he became Treasury secretary in 2009.

"Both at Treasury and at the New York Federal Reserve, Tim was a tireless, creative and responsible custodian of the public trust," said Richard N. Haass, president of the Council of Foreign Relations.

"His coming to CFR only strengthens our capacity to produce thoughtful analysis of issues at the intersection of economic, political and strategic developments," Haas added.

Because of Geithner's long history dealing with the financial industry and his role in the banking bailouts, some speculated he might take a job on Wall Street.

Geithner bristled when people assumed he had worked for the industry, which he has not, and he recently told New York magazine it was "extremely unlikely" he would take a position on Wall Street. He also dismissed another rumored landing spot — as a successor to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, whose term ends in early 2014.

Geithner said the bailouts were about saving the economy, not the big banks.

"If you want to protect the economy from a failing financial system, you have to get the system functionally working, and that requires you to do things that look like you are helping the people who helped cause the crisis," Geithner said in the interview. "People describe this as the rescue of the financial system. That's not really right; it was the rescue of the economy from the failing financial system."

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