Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) — Janet Yellen won U.S. Senate confirmation to become the 15th chairman of the Federal Reserve and the first woman to head the central bank in its 100-year history.

Yellen, 67, was confirmed today by a 56-26 vote, with 11 Republicans supporting her. She'll replace Ben S. Bernanke, whose second term as chairman expires Jan. 31, as the Fed trims monthly bond purchases in a first step toward lessening the unprecedented stimulus.

Currently Fed vice chairman, Yellen has backed Bernanke's efforts to steer the economy through its most severe crisis since the 1930s with record-low interest rates and three rounds of bond buying that have swelled Fed assets to $4.02 trillion. She pledged in a Nov. 14 confirmation hearing to press on with accommodation until achieving a "strong recovery."

"Americans should feel reassured that we will have her at the helm of the Fed as our nation continues to recover from the Great Recession," Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, a South Dakota Democrat, said in a statement today. "Dr. Yellen's leadership will also be critical as the Fed completes Wall Street reform rulemakings and continues to enhance the stability of our financial sector."

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