Steve Coll, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and former managing editor of The Washington Post, will become the new chief of a Washington think tank, officials said last night.
Coll, 48, will become president and chief executive of the New America Foundation, taking over in mid-September from Ted Halstead. His appointment will be announced today.
Halstead, the organization's founder, said last night that he "simply could not imagine a more worthy successor."
Halstead said he had achieved his goals for the foundation and was seeking someone who would not merely maintain and sustain it, but would "take it to the next level." Coll more than meets that standard, he added.
"I think he's going to do a fantastic job," Halstead said.
The nonpartisan public policy foundation, based in Dupont Circle, says it aims to promote "exceptionally promising" new voices and ideas in American public life. Its purpose, Halstead said, is "to break out of the old boxes of left and right."
Halstead said one of the group's goals is to help pioneer a new model of think tanks, with an emphasis on serving as a "content provider" for leading media outlets.
By the end of last year, he said, the foundation had expanded to have a $10 million budget and a full-time staff of 100. At that point, Halstead said, he decided it was time for him to "look for the next big thing."
Coll could not be reached immediately for comment. The author of four published books, he is currently a staff writer for the New Yorker magazine, and his work is expected to continue to appear in the magazine.
Coll won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction for his book "Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, From the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001."
Known as smart and energetic, Coll said that to write the book while serving as The Post's managing editor, "I worked seven days a week for two years."
In 1990, he shared the Pulitzer for explanatory reporting for a Post account of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
He joined The Post as a writer in Style in 1985, and later became financial correspondent and South Asia correspondent. Subsequently he was a London-based international projects and investigative reporter for the newspaper.
Coll was editor and publisher of The Washington Post Magazine before becoming managing editor of the newspaper from 1998 to 2004.
He was raised in Montgomery County and graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles.
This article is available on The Washington Post website.