Trump Picks Florida Panthers Owner For Army Secretary
President-elect Donald Trump has been busy picking the right people to fill positions in his future administration. His latest pick is a familiar name to many sports fans in South Florida.
On Monday Trump’s transition team announced that Florida Panthers owner Vinnie Viola is Trump’s pick for secretary of the Army.
Viola bought the team in 2013 and is a West Pointe graduate. He served as an Army Ranger and in the 101st Airborne Division before becoming a successful businessman. With his successful business career his Virtu Financial electronic trading firm went public last year and he is a chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
“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 said in a statement, obtained by NBC Miami.
“If confirmed, I will work tirelessly to provide our President with the land force he will need to accomplish any mission in support of his National Defense Strategy,” Viola said in the statement, obtained by NBC Miami.
After his active duty service he remained a member of the Army Reserves where he received a law degree. He then began a career on Wall Street and earned a net worth of over $1.8 billion, said Forbes.
NBC Miami reported that Viola has worked with veterans’ groups during his business career including while owning the Panthers.
His Panthers team played a preseason game in October on the West Point campus, which raised funds and donations for groups across South Florida.
Should Viola be approved for the civilian post, the ownership of the NHL team would remain in his family. However, Viola would step down as chairman and governor of the team and Doug Cifu would take over those duties. Cifu is the vice chairman and alternate governor of the team as of now.