Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke has reportedly told close friends that he will step down at the end of his second term in 2014 regardless of who wins the 2012 presidential election, the New York Times reports.

Even if he wanted to stick around for a third term, it would require an Obama victory. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has said that he would not re-appoint Bernanke should he win the White House.

Bernanke, a Bush appointee, has declined to comment on whether he’d try for a third term.

“I am very focused on my work, I don’t have any decision or any information to give you on my personal plans,” he said during a news conference in September after the Fed introduced its never-ending third round of quantitative easing (QE3).

The White House and the Fed have declined to comment on Bernanke’s post-2014 plans.

Should the NYT report prove accurate, Bernanke would be joining Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner who has said that he doesn’t plan on sticking around past 2012.

But let’s say President Obama wins and Bernanke still declines the post. Who would replace him?

The president’s staff has already allegedly considered a number of candidates, including former economic adviser Larry Summers, Fed vice chair Janet Yellen, and economist Alan Krueger.

And if Gov. Romney takes the White House, his people are supposedly considering right-leaning economists, including Harvard economist Greg Mankiw and Stanford professor John Taylor

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Front page photo courtesy the AP.