Press Release

NBR Announces Roy Kamphausen to Succeed Richard Ellings as President of NBR
July 9, 2019

Ellings steps down after more than 30 years of dedicated service; will remain involved as Co-founder, President Emeritus, Counselor (in residence), and member of NBR’s Board of Directors; is succeeded by Kamphausen during a period of expanded programs and increased policy impact.

SEATTLE | Today, Kenneth Pyle, the founding president of the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR), and John Rindlaub, chairman of NBR’s Board of Directors, announced that Richard Ellings will be stepping down as president of NBR on July 20, 2019, after more than 30 years of dedicated and distinguished service. Roy Kamphausen, current senior vice president for research, will take over as president, and Ellings will remain involved in the institution as Co-founder, President Emeritus, Counselor (in residence), and a member of the Board of Directors.

“This transition has been some considerable time in the making,” said Ellings. “The board and executive team have been leading a deliberate process of succession planning, but the timeline has been accelerated due to the recent detection of some health issues that require me to step down from leading NBR this summer.” NBR’s Board of Directors met on June 27 to finalize the decision.

“Rich has been the driving force behind NBR’s growth and success for the past three decades,” said Pyle. “He worked with me in the late 1980s on the planning and feasibility study for the institution, then left the University of Washington to run NBR, first as executive director and then as president. He developed many of NBR’s signature programs and managed institutional growth, including opening the Washington, D.C., office in 2004 and bringing NBR to its permanent Seattle home in Russell Hall in 2009.”

“Rich has built an incredible culture within the organization,” said Rindlaub. “The current leadership team and all the staff are dedicated, hard-working, and committed to the institution. And the transition to Roy as president is a strong illustration of the care that Rich has taken over many years to build up capabilities across and within the organization.”

Kamphausen has worked with NBR since 2004, following a 20-year career in the U.S. Army. As a China foreign area officer, his military career included assignments as a military attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China policy adviser to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and country director in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. At NBR, he leads the institution’s research agenda and oversees engagement with Congress and the administration. He is also deputy director of the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property (IP Commission). Kamphausen holds a BA in political science from Wheaton College and an MA in international affairs from Columbia University. He serves as a commissioner on the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), appointed to the congressional advisory body by Senator Mitch McConnell in April 2018.

Admiral Dennis Blair, who serves on NBR’s Board of Directors and is co-chair of the IP Commission, said, “Roy has the experience, judgment, and leadership qualities that the institution will need during this transition. I am confident that NBR will continue to produce world-class policy research on political, security, trade, and energy issues in the Asia-Pacific under his leadership.”

NBR’s programs and activities have grown significantly in recent years, with an expansion of the research agenda and increased policy impact with both the administration and Congress. Among NBR’s policy research programs are the Strategic Asia Program, the PLA Conference, and the John M. Shalikashvili Chair in National Security Studies, currently held by Admiral Jonathan Greenert. Ongoing initiatives focus on critical issues such as the implications of China’s rising power and expanding strategic ambitions, the Belt and Road Initiative, and maritime security. The 10th annual Pacific Energy Summit will take place in Tokyo in October and follows recent discussions there led by Adm. Blair and Craig Barrett, co-chairs of the IP Commission. NBR’s new Trade Center conducts projects on China’s economic strategy and digital trade issues.

“I have been extremely impressed with the expansion of our research and policy impact over the time I have served on NBR’s board,” said George Davidson, vice chairman of the Board of Directors. “We are poised to go from strength to strength under Roy’s leadership.”

NBR’s second mission of training the next generation is also expanding. NBR is partnering with the National Defense University on the National Asia Research Program—a nationwide program designed to advance the policy-relevant study of contemporary Asia—and organized the Asia Policy Assembly in Washington, D.C., on June 18–19. NBR has also launched the Chinese Language Fellowship Program to train a new generation of political scientists who possess deep understanding of China’s contemporary politics, society, and modern history, as well as fluency in Chinese language. Every year, NBR continues to add new cohorts to the U.S.- ROK Next Generation Leaders Program, which enables emerging and established American policy leaders to visit South Korea and establish contacts with policymakers.

“NBR’s legacy, mission, extraordinary team, and commitment to the highest scholarship in support of our national interests have been important to me since I’ve been at NBR,” said Kamphausen. “This new opportunity to serve as president finds me both deeply humbled and immensely grateful. We have an incredible foundation from which to write the next chapter of NBR’s history, and I am excited to lead our amazing team as we forge ahead.”


Dan Aum
(202) 347-9767
[email protected]