Philip Bilden

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Philip Bilden
Philip M. Bilden.jpg
Personal details
Born 1964 (age 53–54)
Political party Republican
Education Georgetown University (BS)
Harvard University (MBA)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1986–1996
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Unit Defense Intelligence Agency

Philip M. Bilden (born 1964) is an American businessman and private equity investor in Asia Pacific and emerging markets in Africa and Latin America. He was nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as the 76th United States Secretary of the Navy in January, 2017, although he subsequently withdrew himself from consideration. He is a philanthropist and advocate for national security, the U.S. Navy, and cybersecurity.

Early life and education[edit]

Philip M. Bilden was born in 1964, the son of a Navy officer with numerous duty stations across the United States.[1] He attended eight American public primary and secondary schools in five states. Bilden lived in Zionsville, Indiana, graduating from Zionsville Community High School in 1982. He was class valedictorian.[2] He was awarded both Army ROTC and Navy ROTC scholarships and opted for the Army scholarship when he enrolled at Georgetown University. Bilden graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service, magna cum laude, in 1986[3] with a concentration in International Politics focused in Soviet Bloc studies and a proficiency in Spanish. He received Georgetown's W. Coleman Nevils Award for U.S. Diplomatic History for his thesis, "Alfred Thayer Mahan's Theory of Sea Power". He graduated as a Distinguished Military Graduate, United States Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps, where he was awarded the President's Cup as the top graduate of the Georgetown Army ROTC brigade. He received his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1991.[4][5][6]

Military service[edit]

From 1986 to 1996, Bilden served in the U.S. Army Reserve as a military intelligence officer. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and served through the rank of Captain at Strategic Military Intelligence Detachments supporting the Defense Intelligence Agency. He resigned his commission in 1996 upon relocating to Hong Kong. Bilden is the third of seven men in his family to have served over four consecutive generations in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army since World War II.

Business leadership & career[edit]

Bilden is a co-founding member of the private equity firm HarbourVest Partners, which manages over $42 billion in assets.[6] He began his career in Boston in 1991 and relocated to Hong Kong in 1996 to establish the firm's Asian subsidiary.[7] Bilden was responsible for the firm's investment strategy and execution, capital raising, and client service activities throughout the Asia Pacific region, managing personnel and partnerships in multiple countries and cultures.[8] Throughout his 25-year tenure at HarbourVest Partners, Bilden served in senior leadership roles in the firm's global management, including the firm's six person Executive Committee responsible for governance. He became a founding member of the firm following the management buyout of HarbourVest's predecessor company in 1997. He became a Senior Advisor of HarbourVest in January 2012. After 25 years at the firm, Bilden retired in 2016.[9]

Bilden served on the advisory boards of several international private equity partnerships, including funds managed by Archer Capital (Australia), Bain Capital Asia, Brait Capital Partners (South Africa), Castle Harlan Australian Mezzanine Partners (CHAMP), KKR Asia, Latin American Enterprise Fund, Olympus Capital (Asia), Pacific Equity Partners (Australia), TPG Asia, and Unitas Capital (Asia).[7][5] Bilden served as inaugural Chairman of the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association 2011-2012.[7][10][11]

Bilden was awarded the Asia Venture Capital Journal Special Achievement award for "outstanding contribution to private equity in the region" upon completion of his 15th year managing the firm's Asia business.[12][13] He was named among "Asia's 25 Most Influential People in Private Equity" by Asian Investor.[4][6][14][15]

Bilden presently serves on the Board of Directors of Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE: HII), America's largest military shipbuilding company, and the Advisory Board of Contrast Capital.[11][16]

Secretary of the Navy nomination[edit]

On January 25, 2017, President Trump announced his intention to nominate Bilden to be the United States Secretary of the Navy.[4][6][17] Bilden announced his decision to respectfully withdraw from consideration as 76th Secretary of the Navy in a statement issued by the Pentagon on February 26, 2017 noting his inability to serve without materially adverse financial divestiture of private family assets.[18] Bilden outlined key challenges facing the 76th Secretary of the Navy due to a decade of budgetary disinvestment and the increasingly complex security environment facing the U.S. Navy. Bilden advised the next Secretary of the Navy to take urgent action to reverse the Navy and Marine Corps readiness and modernization deficit, develop a strategic plan for the fleet of the future, and partner with the Congress and industry to develop a multi-year procurement plan.[19]

National security and cybersecurity advocacy & philanthropy[edit]

Bilden serves on several boards of public policy, non-profit, educational, and philanthropic organizations supporting military veterans, national and regional security, and cybersecurity missions. He serves on the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel (U.S. Navy);[16] Board of Directors, U.S. Naval Institute;[20] Board of Visitors of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service; the Asia Pacific Advisory Board and Dean's Board of Advisors of Harvard Business School; the Board of Directors of the United States Naval Academy Foundation; Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Naval War College Foundation, where he also serves as the inaugural Chairman of the Center for Cyber Conflict Studies and the Cyber & Tech Council of Business Executives for National Security.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Bilden and his wife, Patricia Bilden, have been married three decades and are residents of Palm Beach, Florida. They attended Georgetown University together and subsequently were married at Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown. Patricia is a retired dermatologist originally from Iowa. The Bildens have three adult children who were educated in Hong Kong for two decades and are fluent in Mandarin Chinese. The Bilden's two sons commissioned from the U.S. Naval Academy and serve in the U.S. Navy.


  1. ^ "Philip Bilden - Presidential Nominee 76th US Secretary of the Navy". Retrieved 2017-02-27. 
  2. ^ Pearl, Elizabeth (January 28, 2017). "Navy Secretary pick is a Zionsville grad". The Lebanon Reporter. Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Who's Coming". Georgetown University. 2016. Archived from the original on January 26, 2017. Philip Bilden F'86 
  4. ^ a b c d Office of the Press Secretary (January 26, 2017). "President Donald J. Trump Nominates Philip Bilden as Secretary of the Navy". White House. Retrieved April 3, 2017.  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. ^ a b "Prospectus" (PDF). HarbourVest Global Private Equity. November 2, 2007. p. 89. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 26, 2017. He received a BS in Foreign Service (magna cum laude) from Georgetown University in 1986 and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1991. 
  6. ^ a b c d LaGrone, Sam (January 13, 2017). "Trump Team Looking at Financier Philip Bilden for SECNAV". USNI News. 
  7. ^ a b c "HarbourVest - Team". Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  8. ^ "HarbourVest - Team". Retrieved 2017-02-27. 
  9. ^ "Patricia F. Bilden & Philip M. Bilden, MBA 1991 - Alumni - Harvard Business School". Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  10. ^ "EMPEA launches Asia Council". Private Equity Wire. 2011-01-19. Retrieved 2017-03-26. 
  11. ^ a b "Our Team & Advisory Board". Retrieved 2017-03-26. 
  12. ^ "AVCJ Special Achievement Award – Philip Bilden". AVCJ. Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  13. ^ "Philip Bilden Receives AVCJ Special Achievement Award – HarbourVest". HarbourVest. 2011-11-08. Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  14. ^ "AsianInvestor Names Philip Bilden Among Asia's 25 Most Influential People in Private Equity – HarbourVest". HarbourVest. 2013-11-26. Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  15. ^ "AsianInvestor- Asia's 25 Most Influential People in Private Equity (1) - Documents - Online Powerpoint Presentation and Document Sharing -". Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  16. ^ a b Inc., Huntington Ingalls Industries,. "PHOTO RELEASE--Philip M. Bilden Joins Huntington Ingalls Industries' Board of Directors". GlobeNewswire News Room. Retrieved 2017-11-13. 
  17. ^ "Statement by Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Service Secretary No". U.S. Department of Defense. Retrieved 2017-01-29. 
  18. ^ "Financier Philip Bilden Withdraws From SECNAV Nomination". USNI News. 2017-02-26. Retrieved 2017-02-27. 
  19. ^ "Commentary: 76th SecNav Will Lead Resurgence of Naval Forces | U.S. Naval Institute". Retrieved 2017-04-05. 
  20. ^ "U.S. Naval Institute 2018 Board of Directors".