Contemplating potential future Heritage Foundation leadership

Mar 29, 2021

Casting a wide net.

Kay C. James and Kim R. Holmes announced last week that they are resigning as president and executive vice president, respectively, of The Heritage Foundation. James will stay on as president for up to six months until a replacement for her is found, after which she will become a distinguished visiting fellow there, according to the announcement.

For decades, Heritage has been highly influential in the conservative public-policy establishment in the nation’s capital. Many consider it, and criticize it as, part of the D.C.-based “Conservative, Inc.” Along with many “new kids on the block” that we’ve tried to track, Heritage could help refine or redefine conservatism in the coming years. Its leadership may thus be pivotal. Its large and wide donor base, moreover, will likely inform its selection of a new leader.

For Heritage, its philanthropic and other supporters, and, well, anybody else to consider—and trying to err on the side of overinclusion, though still inadvertently omitting some good suggestions, to be sure—below is a (merely alphabetical) list of potential candidates for the role.


Sohrab Ahmari

Lamar Alexander

Ryan Anderson

Michael Anton

Larry Arnn


Lawson Bader

Steve Bannon

Mark Bauerlein

Bill Bennett

Tarren Bragdon


Drew Brees

Arthur Brooks

Campbell Brown

Tammy Bruce

John Burtka


Stuart Butler

Jon Caldara

Christopher Caldwell

Frank Cannon

James Jay Carafano


Tucker Carlson

Ben Carson

Oren Cass

Elaine Chao

David Clarke


Dan Coats

Matthew Continetti

Kellyanne Conway

Ann Coulter

Lindsay Craig


Ken Cuccinelli

David DesRosiers

Betsy Devos

Lou Dobbs

Ross Douthat


Dinesh D’Souza

Tony Dungy

Kristen Eastlick

Rick Esenberg

Harris Faulkner


Carly Fiorina

Ari Fleisher

Michael Franc

Bob Gates

Robert P. George


Paul Gigot

Jim Gilmore

Trey Gowdy

Boyden Gray

Ric Grenell


Sean Hannity

Victor Davis Hanson

Steve Hantler

Yoram Hazony

Mollie Hemingway


Heather Higgins

John Hinderaker

David Horowitz

Mike Huckabee

Laura Ingraham


David Keating

Roger Kimball

Charlie Kirk

Julius Krein

Larry Kudlow


Kent Lassman

Joe Lehman

Eli Lehrer

Leonard Leo

Mark Levin


Yuval Levin

Michael Lind

Rich Lowry

Daniel J. Mahoney

Kris Mauren


Daniel McCarthy

Bill McGurn

Kayleigh McIneny

David McIntosh

Linda McMahon


Mark Meadows

Bill Meierling

Rebekah Mercer

Gene Meyer

Adam Meyerson


Stephen Miller

Steve Mnuchin

Lisa Nelson

Grover Norquist

Eric O’Keefe


Darcy Olsen

Henry Olsen

Alfredo Ortiz

Candace Owens

Neil Patel


Mike Pence

Dana Perino

Jordan Peterson

Dan Pompeo

Rob Portman


Joseph Postell

Andrew Puzder

Robert Rector

R.R. Reno

Brooke Rollins


Pat Sajak

Terry Schilling

Matt Schlapp

Mercedes Schlapp

Dan Senor


Jeff Sessions

Brad Smith

Matt Spalding

Ryan Streeter

Tim Tebow


Peter Thiel

John Tillman

Jim Towey

Jason Turner

J.D. Vance


Russ Vought

Leah Vukmir

Bridgett Wagner

Herschel Walker

Scott Walker


Scott Walter

John Walters

J.C. Watts

Meg Whitman

Brad Wilcox


Ryan Williams

Bob Woodson

1 comment

  1. These individuals are across the board in policy and fund raising skills, age, leadership strengths, etc.
    It is up to the board with Kay Cole James help and possibly also with Ed Feulner to prepare a job description and clear measurable objectives. The list can then be refined and new names added. Max DePree( Leadership as Jazz) who was a respected business leader mentored a man soon to be a college president to ask the interviewing board–“What will you do when I fail?” He wanted to hear the board would help him out to correct any problems and was interested in success. He was a distinguished professor and had never been a college president. Also, he was replacing a long term well regarded president and knew he would be compared at the start of his role. I suggest Heritage will need a supportive, helping board for the next president and be willing to let him or her grow.

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