In another odd twist to a strange Florida Panthers season, U.S. president-elect Donald Trump has named the team’s majority owner Vincent Viola as Secretary of the Army in his incoming government. Viola, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., purchased the Panthers in 2013, and will hand over the reins to his business partner and minority owner Doug Cifu.
Trump Names Florida Panthers Owner Vincent Viola Secretary of the Army
#FlaPanthers owner Vinnie Viola has been nominated by President-Elect Donald Trump as Secretary of the Army. This is real life.
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) December 19, 2016
Viola, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, served in the Army with the 101st Airborne Division. Upon finishing his active duty, Viola joined the reserves and there attained the rank of major.
After his military service, Viola attended New York Law School, and made a career as a trader on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In 2008, he founded the electronic market-making firm Virtu Financial with Cifu.
As Secretary of the Army, Viola will have responsibility for all matters relating to the United States Army, and will report to Trump’s Secretary of Defense, former Marine Corps general James Mattis. He will take office at the beginning of the Trump administration, to be inaugurated on January 20, 2017.
The move comes at a time of much confusion in the Florida Panthers organization, amid rumblings of internal conflict between ownership, general manager Tom Rowe, and president of hockey operations Dale Tallon. The team came under a media spotlight when it made the controversial decision to fire head coach Gerard Gallant in late November.