Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President Thomas C. Melzer resigned unexpectedly Thursday.

"I have valued my 12 years with the Federal Reserve," Mr. Melzer wrote in a memo to employees. "I have long viewed my position at the bank to be an important, but not final, challenge in my career."

Mr. Melzer, 52, does not have another job lined up, the St. Louis Fed said. His resignation is effective Jan. 1.

"I understand his desire to seek new and different challenges," said John F. McDonald, chairman of the St. Louis Fed.

Before joining the bank in June 1985, Mr. Melzer was a managing director at Morgan Stanley & Co. in New York. A committee of the St. Louis Fed's board will be appointed to find a successor.

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