"The recession was the story of the year. Without Ben Bernanke ... it would have been a lot worse," Richard Stengel, Time magazine's managing editor, said in a statement on Wednesday.
"We've rarely had such a perfect revision of the cliche
that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
"Bernanke didn't just learn from history; he wrote it
himself and was damned if he was going to repeat it," he said.
The magazine also considered the first woman Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and Nato's Commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McCrystal, for the award.
Other previous title-holders have included U2 frontman Bono, former US President George Bush, and Amazon.com CEO and founder, Jeff Bezos.
Bernanke was sworn in as Federal Reserve chairman in February 2006.
He is a former Princeton University professor and an expert on the Great Depression.