Washington, Dec. 6, 2012—Edwin J. Feulner, the man who first envisioned, then built The Heritage Foundation, will step down as president next April, the think tank announced today. The top spot will be filled by Jim DeMint, the senator from South Carolina who, over the last decade, has organized an influx of principled conservatives to serve in the U.S. House and Senate.
"This is a crucial moment for America and for the conservative movement—and we are seizing it," said Heritage Chairman of the Board Thomas A. Saunders. "Ed Feulner has made Heritage not just a permanent institution on Capitol Hill, but the flagship organization of the entire conservative movement.
"Jim DeMint has shown that principled conservatism remains a winning political philosophy," Saunders said. "His passion for rigorous research, his dedication to the principles of our nation's founding, and his ability to translate policy ideas into action make him an ideal choice to lead Heritage to even greater success."
Before being elected to represent the people of South Carolina, DeMint was a successful businessman. "Heritage has always been a rarity in the think tank world: a scholarly institution run like a business. Jim's background meshes perfectly with that special blend of culture," Saunders noted.
"I couldn't be more pleased with the Board's selection," said Feulner. "Jim DeMint understands that conservative principles and values advance the interests of all Americans—regardless of age, gender, wealth or race. He is firmly committed to Heritage's immutable mission: to build an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society flourish."
Feulner has been associated with Heritage from its inception. Indeed, it was he and conservative activist Paul Weyrich, who first came up with the idea of creating an independent institute able to inform Washington's policy debates with well-researched policy recommendations reflecting conservative principles. He was a founding trustee when Heritage opened its doors in 1973.
Four years later, Feulner was named president, taking charge of a staff of 25 who toiled cheek by jowl in a ramshackle two-story townhouse. Under his leadership, Heritage has become an internationally-recognized research institution with a staff of 250, state-of-the-art offices on both sides of the Capitol and an annual budget of more than $80 million.
Though Feulner will leave the president's office on April 3, he will not be severing all ties with Heritage. "We are thrilled that Ed has agreed to stay on as Chancellor of the Foundation and Chairman of our Asian Studies Center," Saunders said. "It gives us every confidence that, for Heritage and for the conservative movement overall, the best is yet to come."