International Monetary Fund chief Horst Koehler has confirmed that he is leaving the post of managing director to run for president of Germany.
Koehler says he will bring "national and international experience"
He was nominated for the position by the country's centre-right opposition.
The liberal FDP and the conservative Christian Union alliance control a special assembly that will choose a president on 23 May.
Mr Koehler's deputy at the IMF, Anne Krueger, has been appointed acting managing director.
The current president, Social Democrat Johannes Rau, is standing down after five years in the largely ceremonial post.
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has announced that his ruling coalition of Social Democrats and Greens was nominating scientist Gesine Schwan to the post - who would become Germany's first female president if elected.
Mr Koehler told correspondents in Washington that he was deeply honoured to have been nominated for the presidency.
On Monday, the Christian Union's first choice for president, veteran politician Wolfgang Schaeuble, was vetoed by the FDP.
They agreed on the IMF boss as their joint candidate after overnight talks.
Mr Koehler, 61, worked for more than a decade in Germany's Finance Ministry under conservative Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
He helped draft the legal framework for Europe's single currency, the euro.
He also played a key role during negotiations for German reunification in 1990.
He was head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, when he was appointed as managing director to IMF in 2000 after a bitter struggle.