Potential French presidential contender Emmanuel Macron says he's leaving his job as economy minister because he wants to take new risks, after a tenure marked by controversial labor reforms.

The media-savvy former investment banker hasn't formally announced a bid for next year's presidential elections, but is strongly suggesting one.

In handing over powers Wednesday to Finance Minister Michel Sapin, Macron said, "today's circumstances require taking risks." He said he's "taking to the sea ... with a clear course and the determination to take this risk."

Sapin, a longtime ally of President Francois Hollande, is taking over both the economy and finance ministries. He said he'd continue to pursue reforms, but also insisted on the importance of leftist ideals.

Critics say Macron betrayed those ideals by rolling back some labor protections.