Alberto Pizzoli | AFP | Getty Images
An F/A-18E and An F/A-18F (front) Super Hornet stand ready on the US navy’s super carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) (‘Ike’) in the Mediterranean Sea on July 7, 2016.
Trump last month nominated Philip Bilden, a private equity executive and former military intelligence officer, to lead the Navy, which the president has pledged he will expand.
In a statement on Sunday, Bilden said that “after an extensive review process, I have determined that I will not be able to satisfy the Office of Government Ethics requirements without undue disruption and materially adverse divestment of my family’s private financial interests.”
The development leaves Trump and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis without nominees to head both the Navy and Army.
Vincent Viola, whom the president had picked to be secretary of the Army, withdrew earlier this month.
In a statement, Mattis said he was disappointed but understood Bilden’s decision. “In the coming days I will make a recommendation to President Trump for a leader who can guide our Navy and Marine Corps team as we execute the president’s vision to rebuild our military,” he said.