Atlanta Fed chief stepping down

A top Federal Reserve official announced Wednesday that he plans to step down in February.

Dennis Lockhart, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, said he would be seeking new opportunities and planned on leaving the regional bank on Feb. 28. Lockhart has led the Atlanta Fed since 2007.


"It has been an enormous privilege to serve as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta," Lockhart said. "The Atlanta Fed is an outstanding organization, and its employees are steadfastly dedicated to helping ensure the health and stability of our nation's economy and financial system. I am proud of the work we have accomplished together, and I believe the Bank is well positioned for the future."

Lockhart did not say what his next move would be, but rather that he wanted to pursue interests in “public policy, civic work and private business.”

The upcoming opening could serve as a test for the Fed, which is under significant pressure from the left to up the diversity among its ranks.  The “Fed Up” coalition, made up of progressive and labor activists, has made it a top priority to change the demographic makeup at the Fed and has received praise from politicians, including Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFormer Obama adviser Plouffe predicts 'historical level' of turnout by Trump supporters Poll: More Republican voters think party is more united than Democratic voters Whoopi Goldberg presses Sanders: 'Why are you still in the race?' MORE.

The Atlanta Fed said it would be considering a “diverse slate of candidates” to replace Lockhart, with no set timetable in place for naming a new president.