The president of the Swiss National Bank, Hans Meyer, has announced he is stepping down at the end of the year.
In a communiqué, Meyer, aged 64, said he was making the announcement now so that a successor could be appointed in due time to take over at the beginning of next year.
Meyer joined the National Bank in 1965 after graduating in economics at the University of St Gallen in eastern Switzerland. He was appointed president by the government in 1996, succeeding Markus Lusser as the 11th person to hold the office.
The communiqué said Meyer was leaving with feelings of "satisfaction and gratitude".
During his term of office, Meyer launched the idea of a Solidarity Foundation to be financed by a part of the surplus gold reserves held by the National Bank. This was made at the beginning of 1997 at the height of the debate over Switzerland's role during the Second World War.
At his last news conference earlier this month in Geneva, Meyer said the prospects for future economic development were good.
"In all probability, we shall achieve remarkable growth accompanied by full employment and price stability this year," he said.
"The other side of the coin is the risk - which tends to increase - for overall economic stability. From today's vantage point, our monetary policy course should enable us to maintain price stability in the medium term," he added.
Meyer, who lives in Zollikon in canton Zurich, is married with two daughters.
by Robert Brookes