The understanding and prediction of transport due to plasma microturbulence is a key open problem in modern plasma physics, and a grand challenge for fusion energy research. Ab initio simulations of such small-scale, low-frequency turbulence are to be based on the gyrokinetic equations, a set of nonlinear integro-differential equations in reduced (five-dimensional) phase space. In the present paper, the extension of the well-established and widely used gyrokinetic code GENE [F. Jenko, W. Dorland, M. Kotschenreuther, B.N. Rogers, Electron temperature gradient driven turbulence, Phys. Plasmas 7 (2000) 1904-1910] from a radially local to a radially global (nonlocal) version is described. The necessary modifications of both the basic equations and the employed numerical methods are detailed, including, e.g., the change from spectral methods to finite difference and interpolation techniques in the radial direction and the implementation of sources and sinks. In addition, code verification studies and benchmarks are presented. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.