President Bush has named his pick to head the U.S. central bank. He has asked Ben Bernanke, an internationally known economist and his chief economic adviser, to replace Alan Greenspan as Federal Reserve chairman.

The president says the Federal Reserve is a symbol of the United States financial system around the world, adding its decisions affect the lives and livelihood of all Americans. He says Ben Bernanke is the right person to take over the helm.

"He has earned a reputation for intellectual rigor and integrity," he said. "He commands deep respect in the global financial community and he will be an outstanding chairman of the Federal Reserve."

Mr. Bernanke has been the head of the president's Council of Economic Advisers since June. He is a former member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and has also served as a head of the economics department at Princeton University.

President Bush says he is a man of impeccable credentials.

"He has built a record of excellence as both an academic and policy maker," he said. "He is the author of several scholarly books and is one of the most cited economists in the world."

Once confirmed by the Senate, Ben Bernanke is expected to take up his new post immediately after current Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan retires on January 31. Mr. Greenspan has led the Federal Reserve since August 1987. Among its roles in the United States economy, the Fed supervises and regulates banks, implements monetary policy and performs economic research.

Mr. Bernanke stood to one side of the president as the announcement was made, Chairman Greenspan was on the other. President Bush called Mr. Greenspan a legend.

"He has dominated his age like no central banker in history," he said. "He has contributed to a better life for all Americans. And I thank him for his service."

Like Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke is a Republican, who generally avoids taking political stands.

In accepting the nomination, Mr. Bernanke indicated he hopes to be a chairman in the Greenspan mold.

"If I am confirmed to this position my first priority will be to maintain continuity with the policies and policy strategies established during the Greenspan years," he said.

There is no word on the timing of confirmation hearings, but Ben Bernanke went through the Senate confirmation process just four months ago when he was approved for his current post as head of the president's Council of Economic Advisers.