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Trump picks billionare businessman Vincent Viola for Army secretary

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 16: Billionaire businessman Vincent 'Vinnie' Viola arrives at Trump Tower, December 16, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Billionaire businessman Vincent ‘Vinnie’ Viola is President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Army Secretary. Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President-elect Donald Trump has picked Vincent Viola as secretary of the Army. Viola is the founder of several businesses, including Virtu Financial, an electronic trading firm. He also owns the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers and is a past chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In a statement Monday, Trump said Viola is “living proof of the American dream.” Viola grew up in a family of Italian immigrants in Brooklyn. His father worked as a truck driver.

Viola is a 1977 West Point graduate. He trained as an Airborne Ranger infantry officer and served in the 101st Airborne Division. He is a graduate of New York Law School. In 2003, he founded and helped fund the creation of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.

Viola bought the Panthers for about $250 million in 2013.