President Obama says that in Janet Yellen he's found a tough and proven leader to take over as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Yellen currently is No. 2 at the nation's powerful central bank.

She would succeed outgoing Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke at a pivotal time for the economy and the bank's monetary policies.

If confirmed by the Senate, the 67-year-old Yellen would be the first woman to head any country's major central bank.

She emerged as the favorite for the post after former treasury secretary and White House favorite Lawrence Summers withdrew from consideration in the face of mounting opposition to him being Obama's choice.

Bernanke will serve until his terms ends Jan. 31.

Yellen said at the White House event that more needs to be done to strengthen the U.S. economy.

She said the past six years have been tumultuous for the economy and challenging for many Americans. Yellen said that while the recovery is not complete, quote, "We have made progress, the economy is stronger and the financial system is sounder."

She said considerable credit for the recovery goes to Bernanke. She said it was a privilege to serve with him and learn from him.

Bernanke's term ends Jan. 31. If confirmed by the Senate, Yellen would be the first woman to head the Federal Reserve.