Trump nominates Wall Street billionaire and Florida Panthers owner as Army secretary

President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate the founder of the high-speed trading firm Virtu Financial, Vincent Viola, as secretary of the Army, the Trump transition team said on Monday.

“Whether it is his distinguished military service or highly impressive track record in the world of business, Vinnie has proved throughout his life that he knows how to be a leader and deliver major results in the face of any challenge,” Trump was quoted as saying in a statement.

Viola, now estimated to be worth $1.8 billion, was born to Italian immigrants in Brooklyn and is “living proof of the American dream,” said a statement from the Trump team.

“It is an honor to be nominated to serve our country as President-elect Trump’s secretary of the Army,” Viola said in the statement. “A primary focus of my leadership will be ensuring that America’s soldiers have the ways and means to fight and win across the full spectrum of conflict.”

After graduating from West Point in 1977, he trained as an airborne ranger infantry officer and served in the 101st Airborne Division.

Viola started his career in finance on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange, eventually becoming chairman for a three-year period in the early 2000s.

A graduate of New York Law School, Viola helped fund the creation of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point in 2003.

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Viola at Trump Tower in New York.
source
Thomson Reuters

Viola founded Virtu Financial in 2008, taking it public in 2015. Forbes ranks Viola No. 374 on its list of the 400 wealthiest people in the US.

Viola bought the Florida Panthers NHL team for about $250 million in 2013, The Associated Press reports.

Matt Turner contributed to this report.