Donald Trump's choice for navy secretary pulls out

Donald Trump's choice to be US navy secretary has said he is withdrawing from consideration for the post, citing concerns about privacy and separating himself from his business interests.

Businessman Philip Bilden's withdrawal raises similar issues to that of Vincent Viola, President Trump's nominee for army secretary who stepped aside earlier this month.

Just last week, the Pentagon sought to damp down reports that Mr Bilden might pull out.

Mr Bilden was an intelligence officer in the Army Reserve from 1986-1996 and relocated to Hong Kong to set up an Asian presence for HarbourVest Partners, a global private equity management firm.

Mr Bilden recently retired from HarbourVest Partners after 25 years.

In a statement released by the Pentagon, Mr Bilden said he determined that he would not be able to satisfy the Office of Government Ethics requirements without what he called "undue disruption and materially adverse divestment of my family's private financial interests".

Defence secretary Jim Mattis said he would make a recommendation to Mr Trump for a nominee in the coming days.

On February 19, after press reports suggested that Mr Bilden might drop out, the Pentagon issued a statement saying Mr Bilden had assured Mr Mattis he remained committed to serving as navy secretary if confirmed by the Senate and that Mr Mattis was confident Mr Bilden was "the right leader" to rebuild the navy and marine corps.

Mr Viola cited his inability to successfully navigate the confirmation process and Defence Department rules concerning family businesses.

The military veteran and former Airborne Ranger infantry officer was also the founder of several businesses, including the electronic trading firm Virtu Financial.

Mr Viola also owns the National Hockey League's Florida Panthers and is a past chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange.


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