Ambassador Michael H. Armacost, a veteran diplomat and a
prominent figure in the national and international policy community, will become president of the
Brookings Institution on October 2.
Armacost was elected by a unanimous vote of the Brookings Board of Trustees in May, following a year-long search.
- “I am gratified that the Brookings Board has given me the opportunity to
advance the vital work of this esteemed center of learning,” Armacost said. “Never has there
been greater need for the dispassionate, objective, and thoughtful analysis that Brookings
provides. I look forward to a long and fruitful association with this superbly gifted community
The 58-year-old Armacost currently is distinguished senior fellow at the Asia/Pacific Research Center at Stanford University and serves as director of the Aspen Strategy Group and as an international consultant to Goldman, Sachs & Company. During his distinguished government career, he was undersecretary of state for political affairs and ambassador to Japan and the Philippines, and held senior policy positions on the staff of the National Security Council and in the Departments of State and Defense.
In announcing the selection, Brookings Chairman James A. Johnson called Armacost an “eminent public servant, a respected scholar, and a key figure in the Washington public policy arena for the past 25 years.”
“Mike Armacost, among hundreds of candidates considered, has the right mix
of management know-how, government experience, international standing, and fairmindedness that
Brookings needs,” Johnson said. “We are thrilled that a person of his accomplishment
and intellectual acumen has agreed to take this job on, and we look forward to the leadership he
Armacost will replace Bruce K. MacLaury, who announced last year that he would retire this summer. MacLaury has served as president of Brookings since 1977.
In taking the helm at the nation’s oldest think tank, Armacost will preside over a 250-person staff, including a number of the world’s leading public policy scholars, and an endowment currently valued at more than $130 million.
Armacost was a senior member of the foreign service when he was tapped by President George Bush in 1989 to become ambassador to Japan, considered one of the most important and sensitive U.S. diplomatic posts abroad.
In 1968, Armacost was a professor of government at Pomona College when he spent a year as a visiting professor of international relations at International Christian University in Tokyo. In 1969-70, he was awarded a White House Fellowship, and was assigned to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of State.
Following a stint on the State Department policy planning and coordination staff, Armacost became a special assistant to the U.S. ambassador in Tokyo from 1972-74, his first foreign diplomatic post.
After that appointment, Armacost became one of the nation’s most senior career diplomats, holding Asian affairs and international security posts in the State Department, Defense Department, and the National Security Council. From 1982 to 1984, he served as U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines.
Armacost is the author of two books, The Politics of Weapons
Innovation and The Foreign Relations of the United States, both published in 1969. He has
completed a new book on Japan, drawing in part on his tenure as ambassador.
He serves on the boards of numerous organizations, including American Family Life Assurance, Inc., Applied Materials, Inc., Aspen Institute, Asia Foundation, Panasonic Foundation, TRW, Inc., and the Defense Policy Board of the U.S. Department of Defense.
He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Japan-America Society, the U.S. National Committee for the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, and the Bohemian Club.
Armacost, a native of Ohio, is a magna cum laude graduate of
Carleton College and earned his master’s and doctorate in public law and government from Columbia
University. He and his wife, Roberta, have three married sons and one grandchild.