The Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) announced that C. Fred Bergsten, founding director of the Institute since its creation in 1981, will step down from that position at the end of this year.

“Upon completing my thirtieth year as director, I have decided that this is the optimal time to arrange an orderly transition to new leadership,” Bergsten said in a statement.

Bergsten says he will remain active in the Institute once the transition is complete through his own research and writing interests.

“[Bergsten] is the rare triple threat who can provide and communicate substantive leadership across the wide range of global economic issues addressed by the Institute, attract and retain the best team of economists at any such institution, and effectively raise money and conduct the organization’s other essential management responsibilities,” said founding chairman, Peter G. Peterson.

Before his time at PIIE, Bergsten was assistant secretary for international affairs of the U.S. Treasury during 1977–81 and functioned as undersecretary for monetary affairs during 1980–81. He coordinated U.S. foreign economic policy in the White House as assistant for international economic affairs to Henry Kissinger at the National Security Council from 1969 to 1971.

The Institute’s board has launched a search process with the intent to appoint a new director and complete the transition by the end of 2012.