U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Monday announced that he will nominate billionaire businessman Vincent “Vinnie” Viola, a former soldier, to be his Secretary of the Army.
Viola, whose net worth is estimated at $1.8 billion, is the founder and executive chairman of electronic-trading firm Virtu Financial, which stood out for turning a profit on 1,484 of its first 1,845 days in operation. Viola is also the owner of the NHL hockey team Florida Panthers.
“I am proud to have such an incredibly accomplished and selfless individual as Vincent Viola as our Secretary of the Army,” Trump said in a statement. “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.”
Viola was inspired to join the military after witnessing his father’s service in the U.S. Army in World War II, according to a biography from Trump’s transition team. Viola graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1977 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army that same year.
After graduating from the Infantry Officer Basic Course and Ranger School, Viola reported to duty with the 101st Airborne Division. Viola remained a member of the U.S. Army Reserve after the completion of his active duty service, the transition team said.
“[Viola] is a man of outstanding work ethic, integrity, and strategic vision, with an exceptional ability to motivate others,” Trump said. “The American people, whether civilian or military, should have great confidence that Vinnie Viola has what it takes to keep America safe and oversee issues of concern to our troops in the Army.”
Viola, in his own statement, vowed to “work tirelessly” to provide President-elect Trump with the land force he needs to accomplish any mission. “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,” he said.
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