Philip Bilden, a Hong Kong-based business executive at the investment firm HarbourVest, has emerged as a new leading candidate to be the new president’s Navy secretary, according to several sources with knowledge of the discussions. Bilden built his career with HarbourVest in Hong Kong, helping launch the private equity investing firm’s Asian subsidiary in the 1990s, before he moved to a senior adviser role in 2012. Trump has not made a final decision yet, according to the sources, but selecting Bilden would add yet another business executive without experience in government to Trump’s team, similar to Trump’s Army secretary pick, billionaire businessman Vincent Viola.
A trustee at the Naval War College Foundation, Bilden led a $2.5 million fund-raising effort to launch the college’s Cyber Conflict Studies research institute. Former Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), who led the House Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee before he lost his reelection bid last year, was previously considered the leading candidate for Navy secretary.
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