Vincent Viola, President Donald Trump’s choice for the post of Army secretary, has withdrawn from consideration due to issues with divesting himself from his business interests.
Viola was the founder of the digital stock trading firm Virtu Financial and is the owner of the Florida Panthers of the NHL and has multiple other business interests.
The New York Times said the fact some of those interests had government contracts led to Viola’s decision to withdraw.
“Mr. Viola has informed President Trump that he will be unable to accept his nomination to serve as secretary of the Army as the challenges of separating Mr. Viola from the organizations that he has built over the last 35 years have proven insurmountable,” said a statement from Viola.
Trump’s pick for Army secretary, Vincent Viola, no longer wants to be considered for the job https://t.co/F0uZsodOW2
— New York Post (@nypost) February 4, 2017
Defense Secretary James Mattis is “disappointed but understands and respects Mr. Viola’s decision,” said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a spokesman for the Pentagon.
CNN reported Mattis hopes Michele Flournoy, who served in the Obama administration’s Department of Defense, would be appointed instead of Viola.
Mattis “will recommend to the president another candidate soon,” Davis said.
Viola said he was “deeply honored” to be nominated, but was unable to find a workable way to transfer ownership of his businesses.
“I appreciate the confidence President Trump showed in me,” he said. “I offer my continued support for President Trump and his administration, and look forward to redoubling my efforts to support the Army and its veterans as private citizens.”
Viola is a 1977 graduate of the United States Military Academy.
Trump has nominated Heather Wilson to take over as Air Force secretary and Philip Bilden to become Navy secretary. Confirmation hearings for the nominees have not been scheduled.
Robert Speer is serving as acting Army secretary, having previously been the assistant secretary for financial management.
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