WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Wednesday he would not expect to be asked to continue as Treasury chief if President Barack Obama wins re-election.
“He’s not going to ask me to stay on, I’m pretty confident,” Geithner said during a Bloomberg television interview conducted in North Carolina, where Geithner toured an electronics manufacturing plant.
Geithner said he was confident Obama would win a second term in the November election and said he would then “have the privilege of having another secretary of the Treasury.”
There would be “something else for me,” Geithner added.
Geithner’s intent to leave Treasury after a first term is no surprise since he had considered leaving last summer but then agreed to stay on at Obama’s request. Treasury said at the time that Geithner would continue as the department’s chief through the November elections.
Geithner has been Obama’s only Treasury secretary, taking office in January 2009 when the economy was in deep recession. He has had to deal with a series of pressing issues, from a housing downturn to the ongoing European debt crisis.
He said European leaders, widely criticized for failing to deal more forcefully with their debt crisis, finally seemed to be making progress.
“They’re doing a lot of things to put in place reforms that help fix their financial problems, hopefully help them grow more rapidly,” Geithner said, though he added: “They’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Geithner is headed for the annual World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland, where he is expected to meet with a number of European finance ministers and press them further to act.
“We will tell them to keep at it, make sure they deliver and put in place a stronger, more credible firewall,” he said, referring to the need for Europe to put up a rescue fund that is strong enough to give investors the confidence that risks of financial contagion are contained.
Reporting By Glenn Somerville; Editing by Padraic Cassidy and Leslie Adler