Billionaire financial magnate and Florida Panthers owner Vincent Viola was named Secretary of the Army by President-elect Donald Trump on Monday.
"We are honored and humbled to see Mr. Viola nominated as the Secretary of the Army. We could not be more proud for Vinnie and his dedication to our country," Panthers president and CEO Matthew Caldwell said in a statement.
The Panthers will remain owned by the Viola family, but Vincent Viola will not have an active day-to-day role with the franchise. Douglas A. Cifu will take over Viola's role as chairman and governor of Sunrise Sports and Entertainment.
"Our hockey team has always been proud to be part of Mr. Viola's legacy. We admire his dedication to his country and are excited to watch him pursue this new endeavor," president of hockey operations Dale Tallon said.
Viola graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1977. He served in the 101st Airborne Division while in active duty before rising to the rank of major in the Army Reserves, all the while setting the stage for a future in big business. He rose from a trader to chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange, eventually amassing a net worth of $1.78 billion.
President-elect Trump said he was proud to nominate Viola:
I am proud to have such an incredibly accomplished and selfless individual as Vincent Viola as our Secretary of the Army. 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.
In 2013, Viola purchased the Panthers franchise for $250 million. The franchise made its first playoff appearance under his ownership in 2015-16 before losing a first-round series to the New York Islanders.
“It is an honor to be nominated to serve our country as President-elect Trump’s Secretary of the Army,” Viola said in a statement. “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 will need to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate before taking office.
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