Yellen is currently the vice chairman of the Fed and has been widely reported as a front-runner to succeed Bernanke. If approved by the Senate, her appointment would crack one of the highest U.S. glass ceilings and make her the first woman to head the central bank in its 100-year history.

“She’s an excellent choice and I believe she’ll be confirmed by a wide margin,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said after the announcement.

Yellen was appointed vice chair in Oct. 2010. She was president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco from 2004 to 2010 and also served as chair of the Council of Economic Advisors from 1997 to 1999. Prior to joining the Fed, Yellen spent much of her career as a professor at the University of California at Berkeley.