Navy Secretary Nominee Withdraws Name from Consideration

Philip Bilden
Philip Bilden

Donald Trump’s Navy Secretary nominee Philip Bilden has withdrawn his name from consideration over difficulties in separating from his business interests.

“I fully support the President’s agenda and the Secretary’s leadership to modernize and rebuild our Navy and Marine Corps, and I will continue to support their efforts outside of the Department of the Navy,” Bilden said in a statement.

“However, after an extensive review process, I have determined that I will not be able to satisfy the Office of Government Ethics requirements without undue disruption and materially adverse divestment of my family’s private financial interests,” he said.

Bilden is a businessman and former Army Reserve intelligence officer. He co-founded HarbourVest Partners, LLC, a leading global private equity firm. He retired from the firm last year after 25 years.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a statement that he will make a recommendation to Trump for a new nominee “in the coming days.”

“While I am disappointed, I understand and his respect his decision, and know that he will continue to support our nation in other ways,” Mattis said.

“In the coming days I will make a recommendation to President Trump for a leader who can guide our Navy and Marine Corps team as we execute the president’s vision to rebuild our military,” he said.

Bilden said he was “deeply grateful for Mattis’ enduring support and confidence throughout the nomination process.”

“I have been greatly honored by President Trump’s consideration of me to lead our committed and capable Sailors and Marines who defend our Nation’s interests at home and in harm’s way,” he said.

HarbourVest Partners, LLC, has institutional assets currently more than $42 billion, according to the White House.

Trump’s Army secretary nominee, Vincent Viola, also withdrew his name from consideration early February, due to difficulties separating from his business interests.

Viola, a billionaire, had founded Virtu Financial, a high-frequency trading firm, and is the owner of the Florida Panthers hockey team.