Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann, among the most conservative members of the European Central Bank's Governing Council, will step down from his post on December 31, the German central bank said today.
Jens Weidmann, a longstanding critic of the ECB's easy-credit policy, said he was resigning for personal reasons. But his farewell message still warned about inflationary risks.
"I have come to the conclusion that more than 10 years is a good measure of time to turn over a new leaf - for the Bundesbank, but also for me personally," the Bundesbank quoted Weidmann as saying.
Weidmann was among a handful of policymakers that opposed the ECB's pledge in July to keep interest rates at record lows until inflation stabilises at 2%.
He warned that the ECB should not lose sight of the risk that prices might rise too fast.
"It will be crucial not to look one-sidedly at deflationary risks, but not to lose sight of prospective inflationary dangers either," he said in his statement.
The ECB has battled with sluggish price growth for a decade but inflation has risen sharply in recent months and came in at 3.4% in September, data showed today.
Weidmann has headed the Bundesbank since May 2011, taking over as the euro zone's debt crisis raged.
Weidmann: the often lonely ECB voice against easy money
European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde has today praised Jens Weidmann's loyalty and willingness to find a compromise as he resigned from his post as Bundesbank president and ECB policymaker.
"Jens is a good personal friend on whose loyalty I could always count," Lagarde said in a statement.
"While Jens had clear views on monetary policy I was always impressed by his search for common ground in the Governing Council, by his empathy for his Eurosystem colleagues, and his willingness to find a compromise," she added.
The 53-year-old has become less confrontational since Lagarde took over from Mario Draghi at the ECB.
Although Weidmann's successor will be picked by the new German government, ECB-watchers said potential Bundesbank chiefs include Claudia Buch, currently Weidmann's deputy, economists Volker Wieland, Marcel Fratzscher, Lars Feld, Lars-Hendrik Röller, and current Bundesbank chief economist Jens Ulbrich.
Isabel Schnabel, currently an ECB board member, is also a potential successor, although she would need to quit her current role, which some argue is a higher profile job.