Jeffrey C. Keil, president of Republic New York Corp. and one of the U.S. banking industry's most senior executives, unexpectedly resigned Thursday.

Mr. Keil, 53, has spent 25 years at Republic, a $47 billion-asset institution founded by the secretive Lebanese-born financier Edmond Safra. In a new venture, Mr. Keil will invest in the financial sector in Israel, with Republic possibly acting as a partner.

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