WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank president Dennis Lockhart will step down on Feb. 28 next year, the Atlanta Fed said on Tuesday, with a nationwide search planned for his replacement.


Under Fed rules Lockhart, 69, will reach a mandatory retirement point after completing his 10th year as head of the bank. He took office on March 1, 2007, on the eve of the financial crisis.


Lockhart has been considered a centrist voice at the Fed, with a career in private equity and investment banking and extensive overseas experience informing a market-oriented view of monetary policy. Though open to the possible need for higher interest rates and concerned about the impact of extended low rates on markets, he has also taken seriously the concerns raised by the Fed's PhD economists that the economy may be stuck in a low-growth rut.


He said in the statement he plans to pursue interests in public policy, civic work and private business.


Atlanta Fed board chair Thomas Fanning, president and chief executive of Southern Company, will lead a search committee made up of Atlanta Fed board members from outside the banking industry to pick a successor.


(Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir and Howard Schneider; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Andrea Ricci)