Europe

France's Macron seeks new horizon, hints at presidential bid

  • FILE - In this March 14, 2016 file photo, Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron gives a press conference, in Paris. Macron, an outspoken former investment banker who has encouraged start-ups and more labor flexibility, has quit the socialist government Tuesday Aug. 30, 2016 amid speculation that he is considering a presidential bid. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)

    FILE - In this March 14, 2016 file photo, Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron gives a press conference, in Paris. Macron, an outspoken former investment banker who has encouraged start-ups and more labor flexibility, has quit the socialist government Tuesday Aug. 30, 2016 amid speculation that he is considering a presidential bid. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this July 31, 2015 file photo, French President Francois Hollande, left, shake hands with the French Economy minister Emmanuel Macron in the lobby of the Elysee Palace. Macron, an outspoken former investment banker who has encouraged start-ups and more labor flexibility, has quit the socialist government Tuesday Aug. 30, 2016 amid speculation that he is considering a presidential bid. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon, File)

    FILE - In this July 31, 2015 file photo, French President Francois Hollande, left, shake hands with the French Economy minister Emmanuel Macron in the lobby of the Elysee Palace. Macron, an outspoken former investment banker who has encouraged start-ups and more labor flexibility, has quit the socialist government Tuesday Aug. 30, 2016 amid speculation that he is considering a presidential bid. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this July 12, 2016 file photo, French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, center right, delivers a speech during a political rally for his movement, En Marche! (Forward!), in Paris. Macron, an outspoken former investment banker who has encouraged start-ups and more labor flexibility, has quit the socialist government Tuesday Aug. 30, 2016 amid speculation that he is considering a presidential bid. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)

    FILE - In this July 12, 2016 file photo, French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, center right, delivers a speech during a political rally for his movement, En Marche! (Forward!), in Paris. Macron, an outspoken former investment banker who has encouraged start-ups and more labor flexibility, has quit the socialist government Tuesday Aug. 30, 2016 amid speculation that he is considering a presidential bid. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)  (The Associated Press)

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.