Lt. Col. Oliver North is set to become the president of the National Rifle Association of America, a process the NRA Board of Directors initiated Monday, the group announced.
North will be retiring from his role at Fox News effective immediately. He will be taking over the position occupied by Pete Brownell, who did not seek a second term as NRA president.
"I am honored to have been selected by the NRA Board to soon serve as this great organization's President," North said in a news release. "I appreciate the board initiating a process that affords me a few weeks to set my affairs in order, and I am eager to hit the ground running as the new NRA President."
NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre called North a "legendary warrior for American freedom, a gifted communicator and skilled leader." LaPierre called the North announcement "the most exciting news for our members since Charlton Heston became President of our Association."
North served 22 years as a Marine and was part of the National Security Council staff during the Reagan administration. He hosted a documentary series titled "War Stories with Oliver North" and was a contributor on Fox News.
North made headlines in the late 1980s for his role in arranging the secret sale of weapons to Iran and the diversion of the proceeds to the anti-communist Contra rebels in Nicaragua. He was convicted in 1989 of obstructing Congress during its investigation, destroying government documents and accepting an illegal gratuity. Those convictions were overturned in 1991.
NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch congratulated North on his new position.
"Thrilled about the Oliver North news. A total warrior for freedom, this is the last person that anti-gun advocates would want as the new President of the NRA board," she tweeted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.