April 8, 2009
Washington, April 8, 2009 -- Thomas A. Saunders III, a New York investment banker who champions the importance of American history and higher education, has been elected chairman of The Heritage Foundation's board of trustees.
Saunders, a member of the Heritage board since 2005, is its first new chairman in 17 years. He succeeds David R. Brown, a retired orthopedic surgeon who had served as chairman of the leading Washington think tank since 1992.
"Tom's wide experience in the worlds of high finance and higher education proved to be perfect for Heritage," Heritage President Edwin J. Feulner said in making the announcement. "We're run like a business and aim to increase understanding that conservative policy solutions work. Tom is a steady leader who won't blink at the mounting challenges of this juncture in American history."
Saunders previously served as chairman of Heritage's Investment Committee. He most recently oversaw the "Leadership for America" campaign and its 10 initiatives, which include reforming entitlements, improving health care, protecting America from her enemies and recovering the nation's founding principles.
Saunders is president of Ivor & Co., a private investment company. In 1990, he co-founded Saunders Karp & Megrue, a private equity firm that merged in 2005 with Apax Partners of London. From 1974 to 1989, he was a managing director of Morgan Stanley & Co.
With Saunders' installation April 2 as chairman, Brown, a board member since 1978, assumed the title of chairman emeritus.
The change came 10 days after Brown accepted the Clare Boothe Luce Award, Heritage's highest honor, bestowed for distinguished contributions to the conservative movement
"Thanks to David's wise counsel and generosity, Heritage has grown into a permanent rampart for the defense of freedom," said Feulner, president of the organization since 1977 and a board member since its founding in 1973. "Tom couldn't ask for a better example as he takes the gavel as chairman."
In 2008, President George W. Bush awarded the National Humanities Medal to Saunders. He also is the recipient of the most prestigious awards bestowed by the New York Historical Society, the Marine Corps University Foundation, VMI Foundation and the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business.
Saunders' service on other nonprofit boards includes the New York Historical Society and the University of Virginia Investment Management Co. He previously served as chairman of the board of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. He was on the board of visitors of both the University of Virginia, where he earned his master's in business administration in 1967, and Virginia Military Institute, where he received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1958.
He and his wife, Jordan, live in New York City and Locust Valley, N.Y. They have two children and three grandchildren.
The Heritage Foundation is the nation's most broadly supported public policy research institute, with more than 400,000 individual, foundation and corporate donors. It has a staff of 244 and an annual expense budget of more than $60 million.