Yale President Richard Levin has now reportedly joined Gene Sperling and Roger Altman on the list of those being mentioned as possible successors to Lawrence Summers as chairman of the National Economic Council. In some ways he has a similar profile to Mr. Summers — an economist and Ivy League university president.
Mr. Levin's been in the Yale job since 1993, suggesting he may be ready to try a new challenge. He's got private sector experience, having served as a director of TARP recipient American Express since 2007. His long official biography reports "he has traveled to China 12 times in the last eight years," which would come in handy given how much of the White House economic job involves managing America's economic relations with our Chinese creditors. As an economist, he wrote papers like this one, from 1981, on "Railroad Regulation, Deregulation, and Workable Competition," observing, "in the current enthusiasm for deregulation, few have paused to point out that in many regulated industries deregulation is unlikely to achieve optimality."