NBR Announces Michael Wills to Succeed Roy Kamphausen as President of NBR

NBR Announces Michael Wills to Succeed Roy Kamphausen as President of NBR

June 20, 2024

Kamphausen steps down after five years of dedicated service; will remain as special advisor; is succeeded by Wills during a period of expanded programs, international engagement, and policy impact.

SEATTLE | Today, John Rindlaub, chair of the Board of Directors at the National Bureau of Asian Research, announced that Roy Kamphausen will be stepping down as president of NBR on June 30, 2024, after five years of distinguished and dedicated service in that role. Kamphausen came to NBR in 2004 to open and lead the organization’s office in Washington, D.C. Michael Wills, current executive vice president, will take over as president, and Kamphausen will remain involved in the institution as special advisor to the president and senior fellow for Chinese security.

“NBR’s mission to conduct original research and advise policymakers on the issues of the day is more critical than ever at this point in time,” said Rindlaub. “The challenges posed by China’s rise have been a core focus of the organization’s policy-oriented research agenda, and Michael Wills has played a key role both in shaping the research focus and in directing business operations during his long experience at NBR.”

“Serving as NBR president has been the highlight of my professional life, and I look forward to working closely with Michael as he takes the organization to new heights,” said Kamphausen. NBR’s Board of Directors met on May 28 to finalize the decision.

Wills, who has worked at NBR’s Seattle office since 2000, most recently managed NBR’s financial and business operations, including program and business development. He has helped shape the Strategic Asia Program since 2001 and has managed NBR’s corporate briefing series on geopolitical risk assessments since 2019. He holds a BA (Honors) in Chinese Studies from the University of Oxford.

Decision-makers in the public and private sectors have looked to NBR for independent research on Asia policy issues for over three decades. NBR’s programs have grown significantly in recent years, with an expansion of the research agenda and activities across the Indo-Pacific region, and increased policy impact with policymakers both in Washington and in the capitals of U.S. allies and partners in Asia and Europe. Current initiatives focus on critical issues such as the implications of China’s expanding strategic ambitions, emerging technologies and geoeconomics, and energy security and environmental affairs.

NBR’s mission of training the next generation is also expanding. In the past five years, NBR has launched the Chinese Language Fellowship Program, Ellings-Korduba Research Fellowship Program, Undergraduate Diversity Fellowship Program, and Japan Studies Research Fellowship.

“Our network of experts from across the United States, throughout the Indo-Pacific, and around the world delivers vital insight and perspectives on topics such as AI and digital transformation, energy security and the energy transition, and rising tensions between China and the West,” said Wills. “I am honored that NBR’s Board has entrusted me with the opportunity to lead the institution as we continue and expand our work, addressing geoeconomic and geopolitical dynamics in the Indo-Pacific and analyzing the implications for policy.”

The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) is an independent research institution based in Seattle and Washington, D.C. We bring world-class scholarship to bear on the evolving strategic environment in Asia through original, policy-relevant research, and we invest in our future by training the next generation of Asia specialists.